Category Archives: Korea

the doctor’s Top 10 Cities for Supply Management Centres of Excellence (Where Should Your Supply Management Organization Be Located? Part V)

Yesterday, I gave you the top 10 mega-regions in which to locate your Supply Management Centre of Excellence, and indicated the major cities in each region that should top your list. For those of you keeping count, I listed 46 cities. If you’re indecisive, that’s a lot of cities to choose from! So, today, I am going to give you the doctor‘s top 10 cites for your Supply Management Centre of Excellence and his rationale!

Rank City Mega-Region Rationale
10 Dallas The Dallas Triangle The telco corridor. Oil and gas USA. Just a few hours north of Silicon Hills. Finance. More Fortune 500 headquarters than any other city in the USA. The centre-point of the largest metropolitan area in the south and the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the USA. East-West and North-South focal point of the interstate highway system — get anything, anywhere, anytime. One of the largest, and busiest, airports in the world (so you won’t miss Chicago). Sports, sports, and more sports. The world famous Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. People named JR. A great education system. Birthplace of Amy Acker, who, before taking the Whedonverse by storm, made sure that those of us who were adults with young children didn’t get the short end of the Wishbone.
9 Frankfurt The Frankfurt-Gärtringen Corridor The stock exchange, renewable energy, great transportation and telecommunications infrastructure, and German engineering! And let’s not forget Frankfurther Rindswurst. Woot! Woot!
8 Rio de Janeiro The Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo corridor It’s not the CRIB, it’s the BRIC, and it starts with Brazil. It’s the emerging South American powerhouse, which is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere (and home to Carnival), on the coast, and surrounded by a great transportation infrastructure. It is the headquarters of many state-owned companies, the centre of the oil and gas industry in Brazil, and the second largest industrial producer in the country. Foxconn, who produces all of Apple’s iPads and iPhones is down the corridor in Sao Paulo, so you know that Brazil, and Rio de Janeiro, is here to stay as a major player in global trade.
7 Paris Greater Paris La ville des lumières. La ville de l’amour. La vie en rose. Audrey Tautou. La mode, l’architecture, et la philosophie. Quoi d’autre avez-vous besoin?
6 Seoul Greater Seoul A megacity with a population over 10 Million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world, that is home to major multinational conglomerates and one of the world’s top ten financial and commercial centres. A very technologically advanced infrastructure and an openness to the Western Way of doing business. Architecture, fashion, and culture extrude from every crevice. And it’s home to the Wonder Girls of K-Pop. How can you go wrong?
5 Amsterdam Amsterdam – Brussels – Antwerp Central European location, an almost universal understanding of English, great international relations, strong fashion and tourism industries, architecture, and culture (even excluding its world famous Red Light District). Plus, lots and lots of conventions — no travelling required!
4 London London – Leeds – Chester More visits from The Doctor than any other place on earth (and the most likely city to be the first to participate in intergalactic trade). On a more current note, the LSE, the fashion scene and haberdashery shops, and the entertainment industry draw all shapes and sorts of creative talent. Plus, it gave us The Clash and Generation X. What more can you ask for?
3 Tokyo Greater Tokyo Domo arigato gozaimashita! You have to interact with a lot of people everyday. And not all of these people are polite. Why not go somewhere politeness reigns? Plus, it’s the home of Sanrio (hello kitty) and the J-Pop explosion. How can you go wrong? (Oh, and the financial clout, hi-tech infrastructure, and the wide range of cultural pursuits from ikebana and origami to shopping and whiskey, doesn’t hurt either.) And if that’s not enough, anime, manga, and gaming central! (If you think Gibson is inspired, just wait until you read Masamune Shirow!)
2 New York Boston – New York – Washington Corridor If you’re gonna be in Supply Management for the long haul, you gotta have Heart. And since New York is The Heart of Rock & Roll, it’s as good a place as any to start. Plus, the easy access to capital doesn’t hurt!
1 Los Angeles The California Coast Despite our desire to move to a paperless office, we still have to deal with a mountain of paper every day. Purchase Orders, Goods Receipts, Invoices, Import Forms, Export Forms, RFXs, etc. etc. So why not base your Supply Management organization in the home city of Wil Wheaton, the guy who made collating paper cool!

the doctor’s Top 10 Mega Regions for Supply Management COEs (Where Should Your Supply Management Organization be Located? Part IV)

Our first post in this series began the discussion of where a better-than-average Supply Management (SM) organization on the path to becoming a world-class Supply Management organization should locate its new Centre of Excellence (COE) for its new centre-led Supply Management organization. We discussed the traditional factors of customer proximity, supplier proximity, business incentives, infrastructure, and the local talent pool and ended up demonstrating that the only thing that really matters in the end is the local talent pool. (This is because it is the people, not the process or the technology, that ultimately identify and drive the results.) Our second post discussed what type of talent you were looking for and where they were likely to be found. We concluded that you were definitely restricted to major urban areas, but did not identify which particular urban areas are likely to contain the talent your organization needs. Then, in our last post, where we dived into the findings of Professor Richard Florida, as chronicled in Who’s Your City, we illustrated that your new Supply Management COE should be in one of the top 40 mega regions, and a mega region with a strong innovation focus and a lot of open minded talent. We then indicated that, if you intended to be North America based, that you should be focussing on one of the following five mega-regions: the Boston-New York-Washington (D.C.) corridor in the Northeast; Miami and southern Florida in the Southeast; the Houston, Dallas, and Austin triangle in Texas; the San Francisco Bay Area down to LA on the West Coast; and the Portland-Seattle-Vancouver corridor on the West Coast. But kind of left you hanging if you were looking for a global SM COE outside of North America.

So, today, the doctor brings you his top 10 Mega Regions for Supply Management COEs, culled from the list of the 40 Mega Regions based upon North America data, cultural analysis, and emerging or current trends.

Rank Mega-Region Economic Clout Major Cities Rationale
10 The Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo corridor 230 Billion Rio de Janeiro, São José dos Campos, Sao paulo, São Bernardo do Campo Culture, fashion, finance, and the centre of the emerging South American Economy, lead by Brazil (but followed by Colombia and Argentina).
9 The Dallas Triangle 400 Billion + Dallas, Austin, Houston Finance, Oil, easy access to the Gulf of Mexico, and a good old fashioned “don’t mess with” attitude.
8 Greater Paris 380 Billion Paris, Versailles Culture, fashion, architecture, and a strange attractor for top talent across Europe and the Americas.
7 The Greater Seoul Region 500 Billion Seoul, Incheon, Ansan, Hwaseong, Suwon The economic power-house of South Korea and an economic powerhouse of Asia with a new generation culture that, unlike their predecessors, is (openly) embracing western styles of business, fashion, and life and that is the most willing of all of the Asian nations to take risks (which are often necessary for true creativity and innovation).
6 The Frankfurt-Gärtringen Corridor 630 Billion Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Cärtringen The Frankfurt stock exchange, renewable energy, and German engineering!
5 The California Coast 1280 Billion San Francisco, Sacramento, Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego Fashion, Entertainment, Technology, a global innovation leader, and home to the largest ports on the West Coast.
4 London – Leeds – Chester 1200 Billion London, Northhampton, Leicester, Nottingham, Leeds, Manchester, Chester, Birmingham Not only do we have (one of) the major financial, fashion, and trade centre(s) of Europe in London, but we also have the home of the Commonwealth. The UK may have been overtaken by the US in the final years of the 19th century in GDP production, but it is still in the top 20 and will always be of prominent importance.
3 Greater Tokyo 2500 Billion Tokyo The world’s largest mega-region in terms of economic clout, Greater Tokyo cannot be ignored. And while the Japanese are typically wary of uncertainty and risk, unwilling to commit to deadlines, very orderly in business, extremely respectful of hierarchy, very shy, and extremely respective of face, Tokyo is an exception. The younger generation have adopted a lot of western values, have no problem relating to the west, and are even willing to behave like outsiders in their soto groups. It’s also close to other major centres (and mega regions) in Asia.
2 Amsterdam – Brussels – Antwerp 1500 Billion Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Brussels, Antwerp The world’s fourth largest mega-region in terms of economic clout, one of the most open and advanced regions in Europe in terms of broadband penetration and clean technology, and close proximity to the UK and Germany, two European powerhouses.
1 Boston – New York – Washington Corridor 2300 Billion Boston, Hartford, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington As the world’s second largest mega-region in terms of economic clout, the centre of the North American finance and fashion industries, and the nation’s capital, there is serious clout and talent readily available here.

Trade Barrier Reductions

Late last year, as reported on World Trade 100 in Reducing Barriers to Trade, President Obama signed three new Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea to eliminate tariffs and other barriers to U.S. exports, expand trade between the US and the respective country, and promote economic growth.

Columbia is the third largest economy in South and Central America and Panama is one of the fastest growing economies in the region, but it is the South Korea agreement that is of the most interest, especially considering the amount of electronics being imported by the US each year. And South Korea, which is the 15th largest economy in the world, does the most manufacturing in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) of all the OECD countries (Source: OECD ICT Outlook 2010) — almost 50%. And while 50% of global trade in manufactured ICT products takes place outside the OECD countries, dominated primarily by China, the fact that 50% takes place in OECD countries means that global buyers of ICT will soon have access to tariff-free trade on ICT products from the country producing almost 25% of the goods! (See the tariff schedules on the USTR page that reduces the tariffs on many products to 0.)

Under the FTA, nearly 95 percent of bilateral trade in consumer and industrial products will become duty-free within five years of the FTA’s entry into force, with most remaining tariffs eliminated within 10 years. And the almost unrestricted entry into the huge consumer market offered by South Korea will also benefit producers of ICT products, as demand there is almost as high as in Japan and parts of China. This is promising for globalizing ICT companies.

Do You Know What Disaster Will Strike You Next?

Of course you don’t, but you can calculate the risks of one disaster vs. another and one site vs. another with some simple research into natural disasters.

Earthquakes are more likely near the edges of tectonic plates than they are in the interior, especially if the plates are moving together and pushing on each other (and there is a history of earthquakes and activity). You can quickly identify areas at high risk by looking at a tectonic map, such as the one over on ThinkQuest. One quickly sees that high risk areas are the west coast of North and South America, South East Asia, Japan, and the island domains north of Australia, as per the Global Seismic Hazard Map over on

You can get a list of volcano activity reports from the Smithsonian Institute which maintains a USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report. Most are usually in the Ring of Fire, which encompasses the high-risk earthquake zone around the Pacific. Google maps them for easy viewing.

Coastal areas near sesimic hazard (earthquake) zones in the oceans are at the greatest risk of Tsunamis, which tend to build up in power and force as they approach shallow water and land. This says that some of the riskiest araes are on the Ring of Fire in western North and South America, Japan, and south-east Eurasia in the island domains North of Australia. More information on Tsunami Risk Zones can be found over on the International Tsunami Information Center.

The greatest risk centers for hurricanes are coastal areas near the equator where hurricanes are normally a problem. The east coast of the US is particularly susceptible to hurricanes. The Global Weather Oscillations site specializes in in hurricane risk probability zone forecasts for the US and the risk zones for the coming year can be found on the Global Weather Cycles web site. The National Weather Service tracks the 10 global hot zones over on the National Hurricane Center site and a review of historical data will tell you how risky a certain area is.

Tornados can occur anywhere in the world (including Antarctica, although this is the one continent where a tornado has not been documented) when the atmospheric conditions are exactly right. However, the most at risk zones are the middle latitudes between about 30 degrees and 50 degrees North or South where cold polar air meets warmer subtropical air and generats convective precipitation along the collission boundaries. As a result, taking weather patterns into account, the most at risk areas are the United States, western Europe, South Africa, the eastern and western coasts of Australia, New Zealand, the eastern and western borders of China, the estern coast of Argentina, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. Good information on tornado climatology as well as a great map of global risk zones is found over on the National Climatic Data Center site.

Ice Storms
Blizzards can be bad, but generally don’t do much in the way of lasting damage. Ice storms, on the other hand, can do severe damage to infrastructure on a wide scale by downing power lines, and grids, damaging structures from the sheer weight of the ice, and even taking down trees. The most at risk areas tend to be Canada, the US, the UK, and most of Northern Europe and Russia.

Floods are not limited to the coastal variety, and can happen anytime the water level rises too quickly. Thus, in addition to worrying about flooding in coastal areas as a result of a tropical storm, hurricane, tsunami, or storm surge (tropical cyclone), flooding inland can occur from intense thunderstorms, sustained rainfall, or rapid snow melt. Thus, all of the coastal areas identified in your hurricane and tsunami risk lists are at risk at flooding plus any area with a history of flash floods, sustained rainfall (like they get in India during Monsoon season), or rapid snow melt (in Northern Canada) are at risk of floods.

Wild Fires
Wild Fires can occur on any continent at any time whenever the conditions are right and are likely to follow heat waves, droughts, and cyclical climate changes (such as El Nino) and high-pressure ridges. They are most common in climates that are sufficiently moist to allow regular vegegation growth but where extended dry, hot periods are also present. This keep parts of Africa, South America, South Eastern Eurasia, and Eastern Eurpe at high risk, but parts of the Southern US, Mexico, India, and Australia also enter the high risk zone on a regular basis.

In other words, there’s no excuse for not knowing which suppliers are at risk of which natural disasters and how great that risk is. (Some historical research will give you frequency of disasters in the area and a local climate institute likely has probabilities of occurence for the event, such as once every twenty years.) So while it may be hard to say how risky your supply chain is from a holistic perspective (as some financial or political risks may not be identifiable until the last minute), it should not be hard to say how risky it is from a natural disaster perspective.

Cultural Intelligence VIII: Korea

This series is edited by Dick Locke, SI’s resident expert on International Trade, author of Global Supply Management — A Guide to International Procurement (which was the definitive guide for almost a decade), and President of the Global Procurement Group which regularly gives seminars on International Trade and working with International Cultures.

As highlighted in last year’s post on Overcoming Cultural Differences in International Trade with Korea, while the Republic of Korea has a lot of similarities with the Asian countries that surround it, it also has a lot of differences. Having built the third largest Asian economy in less than half a century, starting with low-cost high-quality export production and then a move into high-tech high-value-add in the 90s, Koreans tend to move at a rapid pace. Also, as (recent) history has taught them that compromise leads to defeat and second place spells disaster, they are extremely competitive. They are always looking for an advantage, quick profits, and a quick sale … which is generally more important to them than the development of solid, long-term, business relationships.

With respect to Locke‘s seven key cultural differences (first outlined as six in his classic text on Global Supply Management), power distance is moderately high as they have a vertical society that observes strict protocol, time is very monochronic and punctuality is expected, and your rank as a buyer is moderate. However, while they are quite high on uncertainty avoidance, unlike many Asian countries, they are willing to experiment and take risks if the reward is there. They are strongly influenced by hahn, which describes the build-up of pent-up energies, unrequited yearnings, and general frustrations, so while harmony is important, so is competition. However, kibun (hurting someone’s pride), is a very sensitive issue, and face is more important to them than it is to the Japanese. They are quite individualistic for an Asian country, though not as individualistic as North Americans, and very personal.

With respect to verbal communication, they are the most direct of the Asian countries, except where “no” is concerned, which must always be delivered indirectly or as a “maybe”. You should keep your volume moderate and avoid being boisterous (with the only exception being you are at a club and drunk, but then you must apologize for it immediately the next day).

With respect to non-verbal communication, as with the Japanese, body language conveys respect and you should learn when, and how, to bow. You need to avoid large gestures, bold facial expressions, and maintain a harmony in your emotions. While you need to be close enough to exchange business cards or pour drinks, you must not get too close and you must avoid touching them. With the exception of the handshake, physical contact is inappropriate unless the individuals are peers of the same sex or family. However, unlike some other Asian countries, eye contact is important and indicates sincerity and attentiveness.

Meetings are structured, and its important to provide information, including information on all attendees, in advance. Be sure to avoid writing anyone’s name in red (including your own). While negotiations can take place at the table, deliberations will be made in a group before a decision is made. As with other cultures, meals are common, with the etiquette similar. The major difference being that you should finish everything on your plate, but even if you are still hungry, you must refuse the first offer of seconds. Most Korean businessmen tend to believe that they will get to know a business partner, colleague, or customer better over a few drinks (which should be held with the right hand) and invitations after business hours will be common. Lean what gunbae means.

Finally, modesty is very important. If you are complemented, you should indicate that you are not worthy of such praise.

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