Supply Chain Resilience Amidst International Trade Tensions

American manufacturers find themselves at a crossroad. Escalating trade tensions between the United States, China and other restricted countries have created an environment of uncertainty – prompting many businesses to reconsider their supply chain strategies. Reduced costs are no longer a singular factor to consider, which opens decision-making to a more complex formula. 

The Landscape of Trade Tensions 

Recent tariffs, policy changes, conflicts and geo-political instabilities have stoked trade tensions worldwide. These factors have forced US companies to reassess the risks associated with maintaining a heavy reliance on offshore manufacturing in Asia, for example. Ongoing market uncertainties surrounding trade agreements and diplomatic relations have led to a growing hesitancy among U.S. companies, pushing them to explore alternative sourcing options.

Re-evaluating Supply Chains 

Effective vendor management becomes paramount with the diversification of sourcing options. Instead of tracking them manually, modern ERP systems facilitate vendor tracking in a “single source of truth,” enabling manufacturers to compare bids, quotes and the historical performance of potential suppliers. This ensures both cost-effectiveness and reliability in the procurement of raw materials.

Cloud-based ERP systems can calculate the Cost of Goods Sold based on shipment locations. This functionality allows companies to assess the impact of changing manufacturing or sourcing locations on the overall cost structure. It also aids in making informed decisions regarding the most cost-effective and strategically viable shipment routes.

Cloud-Based ERP as a Catalyst 

ERP systems provide real-time visibility, data analytics and automation capabilities, allowing companies to make informed decisions and respond swiftly to changes in the business environment. For manufacturers and distributors, leveraging cloud-based ERP is a game-changer. Monitoring and managing various aspects of the supply chain in real-time enhances decision-making processes. This is particularly valuable when companies explore new sourcing options and adapt to changes prompted by trade tensions.

The Impact on U.S. Companies 

The hesitancy to continue manufacturing in China is palpable among U.S. companies. While the allure of lower production costs has historically drawn businesses to China, trade policy and related tensions have brought about increased costs and risks. Tariffs, geopolitical uncertainties and the potential for disruptions in the supply chain have led companies to reconsider the long-term viability of maintaining a significant overseas manufacturing presence.

Overcoming Challenges With Technology and AI 

Coordinating and managing operations across multiple locations can be complex. Cloud-based ERP systems and AI features, address these challenges by providing a unified platform that connects various facets of the supply chain. These systems offer comprehensive solutions to streamline operations, from order management to inventory tracking and demand forecasting.

Modern ERP systems also facilitate effective global transfer pricing strategies for cross-border intercompany transfers. Determining fair prices for intercompany transactions becomes crucial with operations in multiple locations. ERP systems help align transfer pricing with the value delivered at each stage of the supply chain, ensuring compliance and optimizing overall profitability.

Looking Ahead 

The dynamic nature of global trade demands a proactive response from manufacturers and distributors. The uncertainties of today require strategic planning and technological innovation. By driving innovative change, you not only navigate the current challenges but also position your company for sustained success in an ever-changing world. 

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Withum’s CRM and ERP Consulting Services Team is here to help you modernize your manufacturing business despite market uncertainty.