Where are you, Compliance?

For the majority of 2018, there haven’t been too many new regulations that have impacted the import/export processes in the United States, as a whole. What we did experience, however, were numerous changes to current processes, and they have hit the front pages of newspapers and online publications. Yes, I’m talking about tariffs.

During our Supply Chain Summit in Houston, TX last week, we polled the audience (comprised of supply chain professionals from various industries) on specific work impacts in 2018, and what potential impacts they foresee coming in 2019.

The collected results told quite a story about the current state of business affairs for our audience. When asked about Free Trade Agreements and the most recent punitive tariffs that are currently in effect, our respondents confirmed that work surrounding FTAs has increased in 2018, and will continue to increase in 2019.

While this was a particularly significant detail, 73% of attendees ranked the importance of FTAs as “very important” as related to recent tariffs, even though we have no new FTAs in the US.

Michael Ford speaking at Philly Regulatory

We also asked the audience some more specific questions about the tariffs and impact on their imports and exports, along with an inquiry about the increase in work level as a result of tariffs and sanctions. Over half of the audience answered that their business has already felt a direct impact to both imports and exports, and their teams have seen an increase in work and planning due to tariff implications.

While we’ve heard a great deal in recent headlines and discussions about the tariff impacts on US imports from China, our audience served as a reminder that US exports are being affected at the same rate as imports.

83% of respondents answered that compliance has taken on a bigger role within their companies, and must be involved with decision making.

What does this mean for supply chains? Well, it’s a work in progress, but our polling results show that there are many more questions that need to be answered, as the tariffs aren’t going away anytime soon.

To that I say, where are you, Compliance? As you can see from the collected results, compliance teams have been working on many new issues that are impacting the supply chains and we heard a strong statement from the audience that their compliance teams are invaluable and need to be sitting at the table of decision.