Articles & Insights

The 2013 Economic Outlook: As Unhealthy as a Jelly Donut
Our economy is like a living, breathing organism. Its health depends on factors it can control (inputs, exercise) as well its reaction to outside forces (genetics, environmental conditions) that are beyond its control. For the last 25-plus years this "living, breathing" economy was powered by unsustainable and unhealthy inputs — picture jelly-filled donuts and fattening fast food — in the form of increased debt and lower interest rates. Over that period of time (1982 – 2007) the economy caught a "cold" (minor recessions) only twice.
Sticky Supply Chains
Most of us are familiar with good supply chains — those that exhibit operational excellence and efficiency. They consistently deliver what is needed, when it is needed and in the amount requested by the customer. While detailed operational measures and daily dashboards showing that every product is in the right place and every shipment is perfect often accompany good supply chains, more can be achieved. How do you transform an operationally "good" supply chain into a truly great supply chain? Make it sticky.
Four Fundamentals of Revenue Growth
With recovery from the recession still moving at a snail's pace, how worried should you be as a C-level leader about your company's future revenue growth? In a word: very. "But wait," you might say. "Corporate profits are at their highest levels in 60 years, with profitability as a percentage of GDP at an all-time high of 10.3 percent. Companies are holding trillions in cash reserves, and are looking stronger than ever after squeezing every dollar of cost they could find out of their operations over the past four years." That's correct, but it fails to tell the whole story.
Scared Money Never Wins
An old gambler's adage — "Scared money never wins" — is as timely today as it was when it was coined in the 1940s. Only now, the phrase should be top-of-mind for CEOs and their management teams as they strive to define and implement successful strategies in today's uncertain business environment.
Unemployment to Continue - MainStream's Monthly Research
The employment outlook for 2013 offers little cause for New Year's celebration. Champagne bottles will have more fizz than the U.S. economy in the near term, and the same unemployment headaches cited 16 months ago will persist.
MainStream Management Monthly Research
We at MainStream are equal opportunity pessimists. With dire short (now - 6 months), intermediate (6 - 18 months) and long term forecasts (5 years) for the United States economy and the stock market, MainStream is also bearish on the economic prospects for the world in general and in particular, China.
Reshoring 101: Rebuilding U.S. Manufacturing through Right Sizing and Right Shoring
The story of how the United States lost its place in manufacturing dominance and why jobs were shipped offshore is highly relevant for business executives, government leaders and anyone interested in understanding their true impact on the country and what it will take to reestablish America's prominence as a manufacturing leader. This is the first of a series of articles that examines the state of U.S. manufacturing and strategic steps businesses can take to rebuild it.
Prospering in Constrained Economic Times
Corporate profit margins are at their highest levels in 60 years. By several measures, corporate America is the healthiest it has been in decades, with trillions in cash reserves. So as an equity investor, should you be worried? Absolutely.
As We Approach "The Refinancing Cliff"
Speculative-grade companies needing to refinance debt over the next few years should prepare for a bumpy ride. The corporate debt market will be facing a "refinancing cliff" as a significant and increasing amount of corporate bonds and corporate debt will come due over the next five years. Of the approximate $3 trillion in corporate debt set to mature, about 35% belongs to speculative-grade issuers and of that, about $390 billion is from companies with ratings between B and CCC.
Keeping Your Business In The USA – Profit Globally While Operating Locally
Bookshelves are overflowing with how to books that are intended to instruct or stir the imagination of the reader to achieve great things. The common problem with many of these books is that they are too theoretical. Models, diagrams, algorithms, slogans and flow charts, are like salt water to a sunbaked parched sailor - close enough to see and feel, but not capable of satisfying a burning thirst.
SECTOR BRIEF: Government Contracting
MainStream’s Top 10 Industry Trends in Government Contracting.
The Relationship Between Lenders & Small Businesses
While opinions on government spending for bail-out programs and stimulus packages vary widely, the current legislation to funnel $30 billion to banks for lending targeted specifically at small business enterprises may just be the type of focused program that people representing both sides of the aisle have been calling for.
Performance NOW - Manufacturing: Keys to Increasing Market Share & Improving Profitability
One of the largest components of the United States economy, the domestic manufacturing sector, has experienced the same trauma over the past three years that the service, technology, and other majorsectors have gone through. The near-collapse of the domestic auto industry and the dramatic downturn in the housing sector pushed an already precarious manufacturing sector to the brink from 2007 through 2009.
Performance NOW - Food & Beverage: Pricing Manager - Profit Killer or ROI Maker?
Managing pricing is one of the most difficult and critical activities facing food and beverage investors and executives today. Big box retailers control so much volume that even the slightest pressure from them sends food and beverage executives for the Maalox. The loss of even one SKU can have a major impact on a company’s profitability and future viability.
Performance NOW - How to Achieve the Expected ROI from Food and Beverage Portfolio Companies
Over the past several decades, fortunes have been spent to improve yield, reduce waste, sharpen quality, and increase productivity.
Why Acquisitions Fail: A Turnaround Guide to Factors Affecting Acquisitions
In the crisis management and turnaround world, one of the common themes that companies in trouble have experienced is a failed acquisition or merger.
Bank Reserves: Is Enough Enough?
With the stock market up by 18.9% through the end of November and "signs" of recovery on the horizon, financial institutions throughout the world continue their quarterly, if not monthly, chore of estimating loan loss reserves during the most challenging times in recent economic history.
MainStream's Getting to the Truth: Applying the 13-Week Cash Flow Model
When analyzing the financial make-up of a troubled organization – especially at the behest of an owner – there is clear value to all parties to utilize a 13-week rolling cash flow model.
Industry Report: Musical Instruments
This MainStream Management sector report focuses on trends in the musical instruments industry, acting as a resource for owners, board members, and shareholder of musical instrument businesses.
Top 10 Restructuring Trends
As the U.S. economy approaches the end of the year with a combination of optimism over an improving market and concern over a possible jobless recovery, the restructuring industry faces equally challenging issues.
Driving Successful Organizational Change
The numbers are stark and the statistics alarming. Despite the second quarter 2009 upward movement in the public markets, stock prices remain far below historic levels.
The Condition of the Private Equity Paradigm
As private equity reaches the golden age of 20 plus years as an important component of an investor’s alternative investment class, a combination of the recessionary economic climate.