Daily Archives: June 25, 2018

Time for Alternative Design!

The US President slapped 16.1 Billion of tariffs on Canada. Canada retaliated. The US slapped Billions on the EU. The EU retaliated. Trade is getting quite expensive between these countries, especially since the US slapped tariffs on goods and services it needs (because it just doesn’t have enough of them) — which is kind of contrary to one of the main purposes of tariffs, to prevent the market from being flooded from lower cost goods you don’t need.

Now global companies that can are moving production out of the US to other markets when they can to produce goods for sale in those markets in those markets to avoid tariffs — home manufacturing. (At least the US can say it’s tariffs are helping to deliver on job creation — it is creating jobs, in other markets.)

But what do you do if your primary market is the US and your factories are also in the US but you currently rely on raw materials, goods, and/or services where the home-based supply is not enough? Well, right now you pay more, but at some point this could price your product out of the range of your target market, and put your organization out of business.

You could try making a different product, but if it’s not one the market wants, that could also put it into bankruptcy.

Or you could get creative and find an alternate design that uses alternate materials that are lower cost. This is not easy, but it is possible. You’ll just need some creative thinkers, good engineers, and an open mind. (And if they need a methodology to get started, check out SI’s classic post on The Operations Research Process which gives you some hints, including the possibility of adopting TRIZ.) Or, if that’s too onerous, you could always try crowd-sourcing. Post a challenge on a secure platform that uses blockchain where researchers or groups can post responses (that can be unarguably traced back to them) and offer a guaranteed contract or reward if the response is chosen.

With a lot of elbow grease, you’ll find that you probably can successfully home-source, even if the best answer would be to near-source (as that option might not be available for a while).