Some strategic partnerships were created to help industries weather tough times; sometimes those tough times are due to internal issues, sometimes external issues, sometimes uncontrollable circumstances, sometimes extraordinary opportunities, and occasionally in preparation to achieve the next breakthrough. Successful strategic partnerships come in all shapes, sizes, textures, colors and flavors. Nowadays, industry CEOs are using a new application of strategic partnerships that are more inclusive, impactful and ambitious—the sort that moves the needle for entire industries.
The good news for business leaders is that strategic partnerships between industries and their trade associations already exist. They lead and convene industries to deliver unified advocacy strategies and convey business outcome-focused messages to government officials. These relationships translate into vital assets to help industries face challenges and position them for growth. For example, recreational boating built its own strategic partnership through its trade association, NMMA, (National Marine Manufacturers Association) and its been highly successful.
Nowadays, there’s a lot of conversation of what cannot be done. Many say we are in uncharted waters, and that is true because uncertainty keeps reaching new orders of magnitude. The Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates to tame inflation, job openings break new ground surging past 10 million, military conflict persists in Ukraine, gasoline prices are heading higher again. Some say that a longer-term cohesive industry growth strategy is not feasible.
The global economy is making a pivot from just in time to just in case and there are opportunities to unleash supply chain innovation. As noted in a USA WIRE article, supply chain innovation is underway. From the private sector all the way to strategic partnerships between Industries and Trade Associations, collaboration and outside the box thinking is happening in real time.
American Eagle’s Chief Supply Chain Executive Shekar Natarajan is working to unclog retail supply chains and modernize them. The company created a supply chain that can be shared among different companies with an end goal of squeezing out inefficiencies and satisfying customers. It’s a strategic partnership strategy, and it’s a frenemy network too where retail companies share resources to drive down costs and increase efficiencies.
Some great strategic partnerships were created to weather tough times. COVID-19 was an especially difficult time, impacting profits, workers, families, and the U.S. economy. Most writing on strategic partnerships focuses on how companies have combined their strengths and mitigated their weaknesses to expand customer bases and achieve far more together than they could separately. However, there are more prodigious, inclusive, and ambitious types of strategic partnerships—the sort that change the game for entire industries. These take shape between industries and their trade associations.
Forty year high inflation, persistent supply chain challenges, a tight employment market, and the threat of increasing global conflict require far different thinking than at any other time in history. Just as necessity is the mother of invention, these hard times break open the door to strategic partnerships between industries and their trade associations. This is an opportunity and a clarion call for industries and executives.
As referenced in a FORTUNE article, supply chain challenges are nothing new in a complex global market. Surging demand, container shortages, port bottlenecks, shipping price increases, trade imbalances, continue to roil economies in every part of the world.
As described in a recent MarketWatch article, the U.S. has experienced considerable volatility and change over the past two decades. Keep in mind, volatility and change are part of U.S. history. The speed of change and policy uncertainty opens the door to reimagination, especially when it comes to U.S.-produced energy.
Undoubtedly, this recent election and every election has consequences, sometimes severe in nature. New leaders in Washington, DC and in state capitols exert influence over policies and regulations that most definitely affect the way in which industries conduct business. And newly elected officials from members of congress to state legislatures in many instances may fund new and shifting priorities. There will always be changes in political power and in economic cycles. Now that Midterm elections are over, business executives must pivot and think in broader terms based more on fundamental human characteristics than on the shifts in cultural or political winds. Now is the time to apply strategic partnership strategies between your Industry and your Trade Association.
This is a call to action for executives, companies, trade associations, and industries, it’s time to reimagine industry growth. The economy by technical definition is in recession having experienced two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.