Offshoring, nearshoring, and now "sureshoring": Brian Glick, chief executive officer of Chain.io, tells why global supply chains need to take a more complex and sophisticated approach to deciding where to source their products.
For at least the past 20 years, companies have viewed the offshoring of manufacturing as an either-or proposition. But the right answer in today’s complicated world is a hybrid approach, Glick says. “Sureshoring” can be seen as another word for resilience — the ability to source product from multiple locations so as to avoid having a single point of failure.
Companies have long been aware of the concept of risk mitigation through diversifying sourcing, but with today’s technology they’re able to do something about it. Innovations such as 3D printing allow manufacturing to be more easily dispersed, especially in “lighter” industrial sectors such as apparel and food.
All of that entails additional complexities in global supply chains, of course, but once again technology is in place to help companies manage it. The important thing today, says Glick, is for companies to own their data, rather than rely exclusively on intermediaries to inform them when something goes wrong. Just a few years ago, shippers were being assured that advances in visibility, the internet of things and GPS tracking would give them access to real-time status reports by way of their supply-chain partners. But direct control over the data is what’s needed, so that shippers can react quickly to events such as hurricanes, port strikes or just general congestion.
“If you have control of your destiny,” Glick says, “you can operationalize the data, as opposed to having a visibility platform that sits on the side and lets you see that things are broken, but you can’t do anything about it.”
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