For the first time since owning my home, I was affected by extreme weather--what we call the 100-Year Storm. We had two feet of water in our basement, our heater and hot water were gone, and everyone within 50 miles was in the same--no pun intended--boat. No sump pumps, no generators--nothing. What I learned about the supply chain is this: the single most important factor is being a good customer. People will move heaven and earth if they can for you. The folks that ripped out our carpet; our electrician and plumber and the guys that carted our damaged stuff away we'd used before; always offered to recommend them to other customers; and treated them with respect. We were moved to the top of the list every time. People around here were months getting service. We were dry--but far from normal--in less than a week.
I have finally accepted there is nothing you can do about water, fire and nature's other elements. But you can be a good partner all the time.
Hi Laurie, I just want to clarify that you are referring to offshore outsourcing rather than all outsourcing on this post.I would find it strange that 3PL executives would say that outsourcing would cost more for companies in the long term, since 3PLs are by definition an outsourced function.
Laurie, it stands to reason outsourcing for the sake of lower cost would come at the price of increased delays. Any time you add more variables to the mix -- and outsourcing abroad, certainly adds a number of variables due to distance, politics, service, and weather -- you increase the risk of something untoward happening that will affect your supply chain. Every company should go over the numbers to assess the ratio between risk and benefit before deciding to outsource.
I know that many people seek to outsource to sources of cheap labor abroad by using services provided by companies like oDesk. That puts buyers in contact with service providers all over the world. Compensation for work can drop to $1 an hour, and I've seen job posts that wanted work done for even less. Then the buyers complain that the workers don't really work (oDesk enables snapshots of what is on the computer during the time people log in for their work hours) but chat or shop online during the time they bill. There is an object lesson there in "you get what you pay for."
Thank you for sharing your view. I don't expect everyone to agree with me. Thank goodness they don't or the world would be a boring place. Can you provide one example of a company that benefited from outsourcing and didn't have to pay the price in one way or another? If they outsourced Q&A, can they really trust the company to put out a quality product, and did it save the company money in the long run? Or did the company end up having to delay so many planes that eventually consumers chose another airline? I won't name names. I'm sure there are success stories, but would you share?
We only had to wait about 10 years for an organization to confirm what we already knew. Executives at third-party logistics companies have been telling supply chain professionals for years that outsourcing will cost more in the long term.
I have to say that I disagree with this statement. Sometimes outsourcing will indeed cost more in the long term, but sometimes you will save lots of money in the long term.
Just because something is outsourced doesn't mean its chances of long term profitability suddenly diminish. Like anything, a poorly conceptualized or planned project/endeavor will likely lose money and a well-planned and conceived project will likely have a better chance of success.
There is so much variation in outsourcing that I think it is a bit foolish to say that just because something is outsourced, that means that it is not a worthwhile long term proposition. Outsourcing can mean far too many things, its scope can vary so widely, and the locations involved can range from 10 feet away to halfway across the world. A "low-cost region" could mean India, or it could mean Indiana. Pretty big difference!
Anyhow, I'm not saying I disagree with your whole point: I generally agree with you! I just had a quibble with that one statement.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.