Beyond Trends: Industry Experts And Practitioners Weigh In On What Will Matter Most To Procurement Pros in 2019 No. #4

Posted on February 14, 2019


As a lead-up to my Beyond Trends: Transformational realities redefining procurement panel on March 12th, I reached out to people in the procurement world asking them a simple, and somewhat straightforward question; in your opinion what do you believe is or will be the single most significant development that will impact procurement in 2019?

In this fourth post in the series,  American author, educator and a lead researcher at the University of Tennessee Kate Vitasek Talks about the significant “global” impact that tariffs are and will continue to have on the procurement world.

“Some tariffs affect a given product wherever it is sourced, while others target certain countries. And although tariffs are taxes on imports, they cause price increases on domestically-produced products. So those steel tariffs are pushing up the price of steel made in America.” – Trump’s Tariffs, Supply Chains And Other Risks – Forbes, July 28th, 2018


When I spoke with Kate about what she believed would have the most significant impact on procurement in 2019, she talked about the “pettiness” of countries making it hard to do business. Specifically, countries are being “mean” to the U.S. by way of imposing tariffs because “Trump has been mean to them.”

Although she travels the world extensively, a resident of Seattle, Kate not surprisingly cited how Boeing orders were “being stalled” because of steel tariffs. As a Canadian, I am familiar with the Boeing – Bombardier dispute, so trade wars is not a subject with which I am unfamiliar.

What is interesting about Kate’s views is her unique perspective regarding the breadth of impact that tariffs are having on everything from airplanes to cranberries.

In talking about the skyrocketing costs because of tariffs on Chinese built products, and political upheaval such as the yellow vest movement one thing is clear; the challenge for procurement professionals is to find alternative sources in an increasingly unpredictable global marketplace.

In the next installment in this series, Principal and Global Procurement Advisory Practice Leader at The Hackett Group Chris Sawchuk will talk “digital transformation.”

In the meantime, be sure to reserve your virtual seat for the Beyond Trends: Transformational realities redefining procurement panel.


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