"The main supply chain transformation of the past 20 years is manufacturing outsourcing, which has made supply chain planning much more complex," says Subramanian. "With a global, multi-enterprise model, the first priority for companies is visibility, he says. "Companies want systems that provide visibility to the information they need to make decisions, even if their manufacturing is being done 10,000 miles away."
The second priority is to have systems that provide control and automation that frees workers from having to micro-manage, he says. The third priority is to have good processes. "When you have good people and flexible systems, then you can focus on streamlining processes, which is very important in the new supply chain world."
Because production costs in Asia are slowing rising, Subramanian sees an opportunity for the outsourcing model "to reverse a bit."
"Manufacturing went to other countries because of lower costs, but manufacturing in these countries is not as cheap as it was before and the U.S. is more competitive and has a growing talent pool," he says. "So there is an opportunity for the outsourcing model to change."
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