Barbara Young

“In these times, you just have to try everything. You have to be inventive. Right now collections is probably the most important challenge under the current economic situation. You cannot stand still in our industry, you have to develop new strategies for customers and increase your customer accounts, and it’s hard to say that when you are thinking about making your collections so precise. But it is so important in business. When it comes to the meat side, it is a whole different story because of the new political arena. We face gobs of new regulatory issues.”

As this statement from a meat-processing executive reveals, matters confronting decision-makers occupying the industry’s executive suites are growing in complexity in the face of a weak economy, new politicians and bureaucrats in government, rising raw material prices, and the ever-present threat of the next big contaminated product recall. Don’t forget about the drop-ins by ICE to round up workers you didn’t know were illegals; dealing with the controversial country-of-origin law; and intra-industry bickering over consolidation, mergers and acquisitions, animal identification and traceability initiatives — and on and on.

Then there is that basic business issue of getting paid for your goods and services.

It is a wonder that decision-makers manage to sleep at night for their world is defined by burdens and uncertainties in large measure. These were my thoughts as I read a recent edition of Supply Chain Digest (SCDigest) featuring a report indicating that the “number-one [operating] priority right now should be managing supplier risk.”

So, not only does your job involve taking care of your own company affairs, but also those of your suppliers, even if means amending or changing debt-collecting methods.

According to SCDigest, the priority of chief procurement officers during these hard times is not to reduce the cost of purchased goods, materials and services but rather it should be on managing supplier or supply-chain risk. Check out for the week of March 17 to read the complete report.

Sad but true, you must do all you can to protect your customers and/or suppliers. I’m still uncertain about all that bailout money the government is handing out. One thing I do know, however, is that extraordinary measures are called for to rescue our economy.