Tag Archive: global economy

Reshoring: Is It All Hype or Action?

September 20th, 2020

According to a Thomas survey about COVID-19’s impact on U.S. manufacturing and industrial production, 64% of manufacturers are likely to bring production back to North America. It has gone beyond talk to action. Clients and colleagues are seeing an increase in inquiries related to reshoring and expanding manufacturing capabilities.

Even before COVID-19, executives were interested in reshoring. The total cost has come into alignment (and is often preferred) in North America for non-commodity products. Tariffs exaggerated the situation, prompting executives to consider the investment of capital to repurpose, expand and build manufacturing capabilities. When inventory carrying costs, transportation costs, intellectual property costs, management and overhead costs, logistics costs and many others are considered, the equation often flips on its head. Excess inventory also ties up cash unnecessarily.

Although costs are relevant to remain competitive in the global economy, it is even more compelling when executives look at the customer side of the equation. In today’s Amazon-impacted, fast-paced environment, customers expect immediate delivery of customized products and services with the ability to change orders based on the latest customer and consumer requirements at the last minute. The last mile has become the last minute. In fact, customers not only expect to change orders while products are out for delivery, but they also expect easy returns and replacement products as a typical standard of service.

Continue reading….. on Brushware or LMA and watch our video on reshoring (also below).

Read more about product supply strategy and related concepts in our eBook, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19. If you’d like a rapid assessment and recommendations for your situation, please contact us.

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Trump and Trade

January 31st, 2017

Well, you’d have to be living under a rock to have not heard all the controversy about Trump and trade. Tariffs, restrictions and general chaos….

Currently, the U.S. trades significant volumes with China, Mexico and a whole host of other countries as we live in a global economy. For example, in looking up trade balances with China for 2016, the U.S. exported $104,149 (in millions) and imported $423,431 (in millions). Thus, what is all this hoopla about and what should supply chain leaders be thinking?

global trade

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

Although it is easy to get caught up in all the emotion and politics, the bottom line is that we aren’t going to flip the import/export numbers with China (as an example). Will it change in some respect? Of course; it would regardless. Will the trade figures change substantially this year? No. Will companies re-evaluate their insourcing, near-sourcing and outsourcing decisions as costs change with tariff adjustments? Yes.

We are headed into volatile times; however, this is not abnormal in supply chain circles. Who can predict hurricanes? No one. Yet hurricanes and natural disasters affect the supply chain every day. Those who are successful will find a way to adjust with changing times and will become more agile in their responsiveness to changing circumstances. And they will figure out what is most important to their business and focus solely on those factors while building agility into the rest.

What is most likely to occur is that Trump will re-evaluate trade deals and re-negotiate. If we took a step back and looked at our trade agreements, what makes sense? How can we keep businesses flowing yet improve the deal? If you are interested in getting in front of the curve, consider these factors for just those areas most critical to your success.

 



Success or Failure? Collaboration Is Key to Success

June 23rd, 2016
collaboration

Meeting the demands of today’s Amazon-impacted world requires meaningful collaboration within your organization and with supply chain partners.

How important is collaboration to project success? Several years ago, it was important but not critical; however, within the last 5-10 years, it has become a cornerstone to success.

In today’s Amazon-impacted world, customers have higher expectations of rapid turnaround, 24/7 accessibility, and increased levels of service. These expectations drive complexity. Additionally, we are in a global economy. Executives are hard-pressed to find a product sourced solely from the country of origin. Most likely, at a minimum, your suppliers’ supplier will be from another country. On the customer side, typically, those who export grow sales more rapidly than those who don’t. The bottom line is that we are more interconnected than ever before; thus, collaboration is critical to success.

Although external collaborators are what we typically think of in a global, Amazon-impacted world, it is often just as important if not more important to consider your internal collaborators. Does your sales team talk with production? Does R&D talk with marketing? Does your Ohio location talk with your California location? Often times, different sites within the same country can be more collaboration-challenged than when coordinating with sites in other countries. How often have we heard the challenges in collaborating across the U.S. yet we seem to be able to coordinate across borders? Quite frequently! It is as if we are speaking a different language even though it might be the culture of the south vs. the hustle of New York or the laid-back nature of California.

No matter whether we are collaborating across functions, sites or countries, these keys to success will give you an advantage:

  1. Provide background– Instead of jumping into a conversation and assuming your internal or external partner knows about the initiative, take the time to provide background information. Make sure they are comfortable with the topic and understand what you want to accomplish, why it is important, etc. If you are on the receiving end, make sure to ask questions. Starting on the same page makes all the difference in the world.
  2. Take a breath– This tip relates just as much to collaboration as it does to everyday communication. Do not run on for several minutes on a tangent without pausing to see if your audience is following along. Don’t assume the lack of questions is good news. Ask for confirmation that you are answering their questions and whether what you are saying makes sense.
  3. Build a framework together– For what reason are you collaborating? Most likely you are working on an initiative together or need help or advice from the other person. Either way, build the framework together. Thus, if you are putting together a project plan, make sure to put it together with a give-and-take perspective. Suggest a place to start. Ask the other person where you should go next. Trade off consistently if you need a way to force yourself to remember to ensure fairness. If you have become more expert at collaboration, mix it up. Start with the first few tasks, if you are strong in those areas, and defer to the other person for the areas they are strong in. Build upon each other’s strengths.
  4. Compare resources– Another way to collaborate is to compare resources. For example, if you are rolling out a product, you could have internal and external resources involved in the project. Compare the resources of different team members vs. your objectives. Most likely, each person will be more successful supplying inputs and resources to the areas of the project within their capabilities and resources. It seems quite obvious; however, it can often be an overlooked key to success. In the new product rollout, the engineering group is likely to have access to resources to optimize the production process whereas the logistics group will have more resources available to optimizing packaging. Match up resources with project plans.
  5. Share successes– Sharing in successes and creating opportunities for quick wins encourages collaboration. It is always a good idea to look for opportunities where you can turn 1 + 1 into 22 instead of 2. Collaboration will achieve 22!

Collaborating has emerged as vital to success for any project or major initiative. We must communicate internally among departments, facilities, and levels of the organization. That alone can put most companies over the edge. However, in today’s Amazon-impacted, global environment, we must collaborate externally as well. Customers, suppliers, supply chain partners and other business partners such as trusted advisors must come together and collaborate with a clear, shared objective to achieve dramatic business results.

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