Daily Archives: October 16, 2011

Is It Time To Move Your (Supply Chain) Operations to an Emerging Economy?

After reading this recent piece in Chief Executive (CE
) on how US companies are garotted by red tape, SI is wondering whether the time has come to follow the lead of IBM and other big multi-nationals and move your supply chain, followed by your headquarters, to China or another emerging economy. Even though I still think North America is going to retain the edge in High-Tech Innovation for a few more years (despite the fact that the numbers say that both India and China should be producing four times as many geniuses each year), the cost of doing business, or at least of keeping your supply chain and headquarters, in the US is becoming too high.

Consider these vary scary stats from the CE article:

  • In 2010, the Feds spent 55.4 Billion enforcing regulations
  • In 2009, economists Crain and Crain estimated the true cost of the Feds’ regulations was 1.75 Trillion – or 12% of GDP – compared to only 1.46 Trillion in pre-tax profits businesses earned
  • The Federal Register that compiles regulations is over 81,405 pages long
  • Since Obama took office, regulators have imposed 38 Billion in new costs
  • There are 2,785 proposed rules in the pipeline and 144 are economically significant and will add burdens of over $100 Million each for a collective burden of over $14 Billion on this 5%!

At the moment, federal regulations are a runaway train that no one can stop. And until the US gets a Denzel Washington or a Keanu Reeves that can deal with the situation, it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.

As a result, it might be time to consider moving your supply chain operations somewhere where the regulations are a little less severe … even if you have to pay a few government bribes or deal with a few pirates. After all, 238 Million (which is the amount paid to pirates in 2010 for ransom) is a lot less than 1.75 Trillion (at 0.01%), and a few hundred thousand goes quite a long way in developing economies where bribes are concerned. And while SI is not condoning bribery or pirate ransoms, there are much better uses from an innovation and jobs standpoint for 1.75 Trillion dollars than red tape.

Maybe if a few big companies start leaving and the feds realize that if they don’t stop the runaway train that the city will be empty by the time it arrives they’ll bring in a Denzel or Keanu to deal with it. SI doesn’t know, but thinks it’s a good question to ask.