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CSA Q&A: Impact of Biden's American Provisions Order on Businesses


In late January, President Biden signed an order intended to strengthen “Buy American” provisions that encourage the federal government to purchase goods and services from U.S. companies. Chain Store Age spoke with Will Eadie, chief revenue officer of WorkJam, about what impact the order will have on U.S. businesses.

What specific impacts should businesses look out for as the Buy American Provisions Order is rolled out? 
Since this order moves tax dollars into American-made products across various industries, the result will be an increase in demand from the government. This shift in need-to-import versus export will result in potential fluctuations of supply in stores and on shelves. Now that retailers and storefronts have sourced their products to be produced and sold in America, it’s inevitable that restocking and updating inventory to comply with demand from the federal government will soon follow. With this, we will witness changes to how they orchestrate the actions of their frontline workforce.

Frontline managers must now implement a planning strategy to ensure inventory counts are accurate and on-site training is available for any new changes to business operations.  

What management strategy and what logistical changes need to be made as retailers, restaurants and other service-based businesses absorb the new order?  
The executive order will impact the volume of supply within the distribution chain in unexpected ways and management strategy needs to be flexible and adaptable for frontline workers. Businesses need to employ operational tools that support real-time changes based on shifting business needs. This can include automatically scheduling shifts for workers or mapping out when productivity can be maximized according to the needs of the organization.

Data analysis and data reaction as as a driver of flexible management is key as organizational and government change continues to fluctuate. Robust communication channels can also assist by enabling employees to stay productive on an ad-hoc basis, while also collecting information on the real-time feedback pain points.

Should essential workers be anticipating changes to their hours, scheduling, productivity or workload as the order streamlines more tax dollars towards American goods?
Regardless of the government intervention, businesses need to be prepared to handle an influx of demand as we move through 2021 and beyond. This increase will need to be met with agile solutions that allow businesses to focus on managing their frontline workforce. In the meantime, essential workers can expect changes to their shift times and schedules if their business sees substantial change due to the order.

Businesses must utilize a more organized approach to matching capacity with productive needs because, without proper planning and organization, employees can face burnout and the business’ bottom line will suffer.

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