There was never a dull moment in 2019 for the supply management profession. Even veteran practitioners have said that — amid an unprecedented amount of trade turbulence, as well as economic uncertainty, geopolitical events and natural disasters — they’ve rarely had to keep so many plates spinning.

At Inside Supply Management®, it’s been a busy year documenting this balancing act, and like many procurement departments, we’re eager for the respite the holidays provide. At the end of business on Tuesday, Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) begins its end-of-year close; we’ll be back on January 2.

Before we go, the staff of Inside Supply Management® presents its fourth annual “Christmas card” to our readers: work from the previous 12 months that we’re most proud of. These articles and blog posts are worth revisiting or discovering in case you missed them.

Click on the title for a PDF file of the story, as it appeared in the magazine:

50 Years of Supplier Diversity,” March issue. Promoting diversity is a “role of everyone in the supply management organization,” an interview subject told us. Supplier diversity has helped enhance customer relationships, inspire innovation and increase profitability — and the endeavor can be traced to an executive order signed by then-President Richard Nixon in March 1969.

The Supply Management Professional of the Future,” April issue: Our first talent-themed issue included an examination of emerging roles coming to procurement organizations. We spoke with practitioners, consultants and other subject-matter experts about those roles, including data scientist, business liaison/relationship manager and chief value officer.

The Inflation Game,” June/July issue: For supply management and logistics professionals, the challenge of keeping costs down is never greater than during a period of rising commodity and transportation prices. That such increases have not severely impacted core inflation can be attributed in big part to procurement professionals sourcing globally and tapping technology, which has had a disinflationary or deflationary effect.

Vietnam Rises After the Trade-War Alarm,” September issue: Each year, we profile a country that has become a procurement and logistics hot spot. Vietnam has long been considered a sleeping giant for sourcing and manufacturing, but it emerged in 2019 by courting companies hit with rising costs and heavy tariffs in China. However, the Southeast Asian nation must address technology and infrastructure challenges.

Starting Up Innovation,” October issue: As procurement continues its evolution from a cost-cutting to revenue-building function, organizations are seeking increasingly creative solutions — and looking at “agile and hungry” entrepreneurs. We examined this dynamic and profiled five entrepreneurial suppliers.

Also, the November/December issue featured ISM’s Roadmap to Value, a pullout-poster tool designed to help an organization assess their positions and increase its maturity level. On our blog, there was ample coverage of ISM2019 in April, including how the Conference was documented on Twitter. Kate Vitasek, an authority on the Vested collaborative business model, wrote a 10-part series on strategic contracting. And there was no shortage of blog posts on the trade war, including how procurement organizations can strategize.

Three ISM content staples rolled on: Inside Supply Management® Weekly, an e-newsletter that features recent and new digital content on procurement trends and issues; the ROB Roundup, which gauges the procurement and financial worlds’ reaction to the Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®; and The Monthly Metric, which examines the analytics that help supply managers achieve success.

As 2019 ends, there’s a lot for us at Inside Supply Management® to look back on, but we’re most excited about next year. Expanded feature stories — as well as new columns and departments — are on tap starting with the January/February issue, which examines the U.S. economic outlook for the coming year and what it means for procurement organizations. Also, we’ll have a dynamic digital presence with ISM’s website relaunch in the spring.

We wish you all the best this holiday season. See you in 2020.

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