A recent article over on Forbes.com presented 3 Ways to Manage A Global Supply Chain from UPS. The article focussed on how to ease the transition when a business is going global for the first time. It gave three pieces of advice:
- Look to Local Experts
When expanding internationally, find a partner that is a local market master who can guide you in developing the brand in that market. Whether it’s taking the time to seek out the right suppliers, or contracting with a skilled business consultant in the area who can do the same, there’s no replacement for local expertise.
- Invest in IT
Managing a global supply chain means a constant interaction with data. Furthermore, while a variety of supply chain best practices are available, but some can be ineffective if companies don’t select the IT solution that best meets their specific supply chain requirements.
- Diversify and Appreciate Suppliers
Developing good relations with all partners in your global supply chain will benefit everyone and lead to better negotiations, production, and delivery.
This is all valid advice, but it’s not how you manage a global supply chain. It’s how you improve a global supply chain. To manage a global supply chain, you have to first:
- Design a global supply chain.
- Create the technological infrastructure to manage and run it.
- Create a management framework.
- Staff up the management team.
then you find the local experts, work with suppliers, and make use of your IT and management assets. You can’t apply best practices if you do not have any best practices to apply them against.