Trends that will outlast tough times: Richardson

Times are tough today, and that is pressuring margins and business models across many Australian supply chains and manufacturing operations. But there are many trends and strategies to help businesses cope with hard times, says Access Economics’ Chris Richardson.
Managements are asking the questions:
• Should reaction to these times drive our strategy?
• Where and when do we focus strategy on the recovery cycle?
Two big trends will continue to dominate the longer term and should guide business strategy:
• First, emerging economies such as China and India will recover from the current slowdown and drive much of Australian prosperity in coming years, having a strong impact on our industry patterns along the way.
• Second, innovations will continue to drive cost savings for the longer term. Booms and busts come and go, but the ability of companies to achieve world’s best practice will remain the dominant driver of their longer-term success or failure. This will necessitate innovations in business models and operations as well as products, services and markets.
Other areas with the potential to impact strategy include:
• Impacts of oil/fuel prices.
• Impact of potential Carbon Trading Schemes and Carbon Taxes.
• Investments in infrastructure.
• Credit and funds availability implications for funding infrastructure, inventory and real estate.
• Skills shortage and trends in employment/unemployment.
Chris Richardson, Australia’s best-known economic commentator, will give the closing keynote presentation at this year’s Smart 2009 Conference on 10-11 June. Click here for more information and to register.

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