What a Year!

Publisher John Davis tells how the new political climate and economic trends will affect the supply chain. He introduces a new and faster way to reach advertisers.

What a Year!

From millennium madness to political pandemonium! When I first wrote this column, we still didn’t know who the next president of the United States would be. I thought, who knows, maybe while Puerto Rico debates whether it would like to be a 51st state, southeast Florida may take that honor.

As you know by now, George W. Bush will be sworn in on January 20. Gore’s concession speech and Bush’s victory speech should reassure the country that we are back on track. Hopefully we’ll see more bipartisan politics with the new administration.

I think the economy will be just fine, as long as the U.S. maintains its manufacturing strength, and productivity gains remain the highest in the world.

The economy may slow a bit, but considering the growth we’ve had, I don’t think it will be a surprise to anyone. At the same time, most material handling industries and their members who are the core advertising supporters of Material Handling Management feel that 2001 will be a good year.

No one really knows the short-term impact the Web will have on our business life, but the likelihood is that business-to-business growth will continue. Eventually companies will be able to identify decent profits from their use of the Internet — for no other reason than the Internet is such a superb source of easily accessible information. The Web will help all of us improve our businesses through better communication with suppliers, be they manufacturers or distributors.

Supply chain management technology is healthy and will continue (it has no choice with the competitive margins) to help us anticipate consumer needs, manufacture the right product on time, and deliver it to the ultimate consumer. What I don’t see continuing is a drugstore on every corner. I’m still trying to figure out what wizard determined that anyone over 50 should be able to walk to a drugstore within five minutes of his home. I know we’re an aging society and pharmaceuticals are a huge industry, but that’s just an inefficient use of resources.

While you don’t read Material Handling Management to hear what I’m thinking, you do read it to get information on products and services that will make your manufacturing, warehousing and distribution operations more effective. And to help you to that end, we are pleased to introduce with this issue a new service that (yes, it’s net-related) will enable you to get information from our advertisers quicker than any response mechanism I’m aware of. It will let you ask for information from multiple suppliers and have them respond almost immediately via e-mail. In this age of accessing information quickly, I think you will find response.com extremely useful. Just go to mhmanagment.com. You’ll find it there. Just click on the little guy for almost instant information on our advertisers.

Other than that, just enjoy the signed columns that follow. They run every month and offer a critical view of every aspect of the material handling industry.

I’m sure you’re enjoying reading Tom Andel (our chief editor since July) and at the same time hearing from Bernie Knill, MHM’s former chief editor. For those of you who have been reading MHM for a few years, Bernie will continue to be a resource for information and commentary on material handling — an industry that will continue to be a major force in the world’s businesses.

I hope you had a great holiday season, and best wishes for a happy, prosperous and, above all, healthy 2001.

John Davis

publisher

[email protected]

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