There has been a lot of debate recently about whether the outsourcing trend is finally grinding to a halt and companies are now looking to insource, bringing back those manufacturing or administrative operations they sent out to be managed abroad.
Lost in all the hubbub last week about Apple’s decision to bring some manufacturing jobs back to the US, was a much smaller and more local supply chain story, one involving the local restaurant industry in Boston. The stories are vastly different in content, scope, impact, and importance. But taken together, they illustrate an important lesson: regardless of company size, the way procurement manages total-cost-of ownership (TCO) evaluation and buyer-supplier communication can determine whether supply chains are a competitive advantage or disadvantage.
Awareness of the cultural differences between us as purchasers and our respective partners in emerging markets is key to a sustainable relationship. This is not something that can be “added on” once the numbers make sense, this awareness has to be cultivated from day one and grown with the relationship.
What did we learn this week? Apple and Samsung are still friends, the shipping industry is in a pickle, the UK government blacklists suppliers, advanced analytics can save you money and procurement can attract the best talent from the next generation.
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