The number of supply chain management factors that confront global manufacturers remains relatively stable from year to year. But the way those factors mingle and collide makes each year a new challenge, and 2011 will hold a particularly tricky mix that will make supply chain management a tenuous balancing act. That mix could seriously impact manufacturers' supply chains, including global sourcing of raw materials and outsourced manufacturing services for which they contract. Among a host of other supply chain factors, there are three that we should all watch closely. Not surprisingly, they have a decided China bent:
1. The appreciation of China's currency
2. The price of oil as the world economy continues to recover
3. China's policy on exporting rare earth metals used in electronics and related products
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