the doctor recently saw a headline that the nearshoring revolution is just beginning, and while he wishes this were true (as he’s been preaching the need for a nearshoring revolution since Sourcing Innovation started, which, for those keeping track, was 17 years ago), it’s not.
A few progressive thought-leading innovators are doing it, but a few is not a revolution. It’s just a few people and organizations who are both willing to do the right thing and wealthy enough to
a) pay for all the upfront costs (where the return may not be recouped for years) involved in shifting a supply chain, bringing new factories online or upgrading those that have been offline for years (or decades) and
b) not be beholden to investors, shareholders, or Wall Street demanding profits now.
The reality is that reorganizing supply chains has a large upfront cost and when most corporations are beholden to shareholders who want profit now, Private Equity firms who want profit now, and Venture Capitalists who want profit now, the last thing they want is upfront cost. They want margin, and the best margins are finding the lowest cost of supply out there and using that, even if it means continuing to source from halfway around the world with all the risks involved (and the losses that would accompany any of those risks), especially if you can buy supply chain insurance at a reasonable cost.
As long as the backward-thinking financial models and economics continue to focus on profit over value or true wealth creation, nearshoring is going to face the same obstacles that Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability has faced for the last two decades where everyone says they want it, but unless legally mandated, no one is willing to pay for it. the doctor is aware of multiple surveys that have been conducted in this area over the last couple of decades and while a majority of respondents will say it’s top priority, the majority will not even pay 3% more for a more sustainable product or service as the success criteria they are eventually measured on in Procurement is total “savings” (regardless of the long term cost to society).
The reality is that most corporations bought into McKinsey’s outsourcing push because their managers and primary shareholders were greedy and wanted profits sooner rather than later, and while that mentality persists, they’re not going to be willing to absorb the upfront costs of shifting back. To truly fix the supply chains, which is as simple as “F*CK China” in the Americas and “F*Ck the Americas” in China as the doctor pointed out in his recent post on how you reconfigure the global supply chain, you need a no upfront cost solution for organizations to switch back, or a value proposition beyond assurance of supply.
In the United States of America, for this to happen the MAGA crowd, instead of wasting all their efforts trying to take away basic human rights away from their citizens (while they are simultaneously trying to put an angry grandpa back in office and hide the huge “gifts” they are getting from certain parties that benefit greatly from laws they pass or block), needs to focus on solutions to actually bring the jobs they are claiming to fight for back to the Americas, which could include:
- interest free loans for building supply chain infrastructure such as factories, distribution hubs, ports, etc.
- free, or heavily subsidized, training for Americans to do these jobs
- higher tariffs on any
imported products that are produced at sufficient volumes in America to satisfy the American market
- higher taxes on any
exported products that should be sold at home
Unless the value is created, or China Sourcing is banned wherever products could be sourced from the USA, Canada, Mexico, or friendly Central/South American states, the nearshoring revolution will not happen. There’s no incentive for it to happen, and no Tribore Menendez taking up the charge!