Sunday, January 2, 2005


Anita Campbell has written several posts on 2005 trend predictions. I am interested in starting a discussion thread on John Ritter's article, Five Trends That Will Define 2005, in the Inc. Magazine. [Via Small Business Trends.] I am very interested in working for a "growing company" in the future. As a former purchaser and cost analyst, I had to comment on Anita Campbell's post. I will comment on four of the five trends by linking to some of my posts and other articles that could be of interest. Maybe the discussion will continue on some of the business blogs that Wayne Hurlbert (Blog Business World) is mentioning in his post, Business Blog Awards announced.

  • High prices on raw materials.
During my 8+ years as a purchaser of raw materials, I had several price negotiations with suppliers. I have seen e.g., nickel and stainless steel prices going "thru the roof." The solution is to find alternative sources for the future and at the same time work in a long-range fashion with your current partners. It was important to point out to the suppliers that the business relationship was based on the "trader principle." For my take on the problems with steel tariffs, read my post, "ASSOCIATED STEEL" VERSUS "REARDEN STEEL"?

  • Logistical problems resulting in long lead times.
I am a deputy board member for the Western region (i.e., the area around Gothenburg) of the Swedish National Association of Purchasing and Logistics. In the latest issue of the Purchasing & Logistics magazine you could read an interview with Masaaki Imai. I read Mr. Imai's book, Kaizen: The Key To Japan's Competitive Success, several years ago. You could find a solution to the long lead times in the article, Your move.

As global logistics advances from dock to boardroom, says Jennifer Monroe, it's becoming a key piece in the corporate strategy game.

We used to know what we meant by logistics. It was moving goods from one place to another wasn't it? But globalization has changed that. Definitions of global logistics (or global supply chain management-see what I mean?) nowadays are as unique as the businesses using it. The physical movement of goods in a global context may still be at the heart of it, but there's a lot more involved. (, 12/31/04.)

  • Benefits driving up labor costs.
Health care isn't the only benefit that companies have to watch out for. Employers will increasingly find themselves reworking benefits packages to cater to what demographers have dubbed the "sandwich" generation -- people who are responsible for both a child and an aging parent. These employees will demand a slew of new benefits such as flextime and child and elder care programs. (, December 2004 issue.)

Here is an excerpt from my post, CARNIVAL OF THE CAPITALISTS AND PC4MEDIA.

My answer is that the government should exit the area of health care. I could give you plenty of examples from Sweden on why it is not working with a having a huge public sector and socialized medicine. Sweden would need an ad hoc organization like Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, but I don't hold my breath that this will happen in the near future... (EGO, 07/06/04.)

  • Struggling state economies.
I hope that states like Florida and California don't think that the "Swedish model" is the secret recipe for balancing the budget. For more on economics, read my post, ECONOMY UP NORTH.

I will let the venture capitalists out there to deal with the fifth point, The return of early-stage deals. I am interested to learn about different types of investment blogs.