By Taras Berezowsky
In the aftermath of the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum going into effect in March 2018, we heard and read a lot about some of the largest American OEMs and their business challenges.
But what's not known or reported as much in the mainstream is what manufacturers have been doing to strategically mitigate tariff risk, or how their various business units and organizations put practices in place to hedge against that risk.
"We're flexible, and we can move quickly now that we have started to qualify additional materials," said Matt Marthinson, VP Supply Chain at JB Poindexter & Co., Inc. "So I like our chances much better than where we were just two years ago."
A company like that has to be flexible - as a large-volume metals buyer, JB Poindexter is the largest truck manufacturer in the U.S. of Class 3 through Class 7 trucks, including the majority of UPS (NYSE:UPS), FedEx (NYSE:FDX), U.S. Postal Service, Penske (NYSE:PAG), and Ryder (NYSE:R) trucks across North America, according to Marthinson.
In a conversation with Lisa Reisman on our current podcast series, "The Maker-to-User Trend in the Time of Tariffs," Marthinson lets listeners in on how an established transportation industry manufacturer with significant exposure to commodity risk views the tariff landscape, both now and into 2020.
According to his company bio, Matt Marthinson is the leader for the Supply Chain transformation initiative at JBPCO, which includes partnering with the business owners to consolidate and leverage spend across all business units. He has over 25 years of comprehensive business achievements and expertise in Lean Manufacturing Operations, Production Planning, Materials Management, Procurement, Transportation and Logistics, Sourcing and Supply Chain with Kaiser Aluminum, Honeywell, Alcoa and Hubbell Incorporated, most recently as vice president of strategic sourcing. Learn more here.
Maker-to-User in the Time of Tariffs: Background
After the U.S. Commerce Department's Section 232 findings in early 2018, President Donald Trump took action - and the rest is history.
This new podcast series takes a closer look at the U.S. manufacturing landscape in our present time of trade tariffs, and how manufacturers themselves are affected by the tariffs (winners and losers).
For example, just over 90% of manufacturing industry respondents, in a recent, informal MetalMiner poll, indicated that the Trump tariffs have hurt their respective businesses, via increased material costs, inventory woes, and longer lead times, among other effects.
However, other manufacturers - for example, Honda (NYSE:HMC) - have posted healthy profits over the last year.
Ultimately, we're interested in what all of this means for the "maker-to-user" trend that we've seen gain steam the past several years.
Editor's Note: The summary bullets for this article were chosen by Seeking Alpha editors.