Volume 12 Number 10 - October 7, 2014


The 1970's had Massachusetts' Highway 128. North Carolina had its textile industry. Detroit had autos. Silicon Valley is currently the home of high-tech in the United States. Electronics are concentrated in SE Asia. And of course there was the offshoring of a multitude of high-labor-content components to low wage countries that created similar economic enclaves there.

That critical mass made recruiting trained people, locating local experienced sources and all the support and connecting industries much easier. Great things happened. However in several of those cases the critical mass subsequently resulted in major negative economic impact to companies, communities, and people. Mayhem some might call it.

Hong Kong, a great and stable financial capital for decades, has over 100,000 protesters in the streets and police using tear gas. Russia's supply of gas to Europe is threatened. New York City recently saw over 100,000 march in support of action to limit and reverse global warming. A few months ago Vietnamese workers set fire to factories owned or managed by the Chinese as a reaction to perceived political provocations. Tsunamis and earthquakes in Japan destroyed power sources, infrastructure and businesses; the region is not yet fully recovered.

The critical mass that provides benefit will heighten risk when taken too far.

If most of your suppliers are local, talk with businesses in Moore OK or North East Japan. If all your electronics come from the Philippines, remember that country is regularly exposed to major destructive cyclones. If key employees merely rotate within competitive companies in the area, the recruiting benefits have been reversed.

Increasing unrest, intensifying weather patterns, and changing geopolitical relationships or industry restructuring can turn the gains of critical mass into the loss of economic viability.

When defining your supply chain strategy, remember too much of a good thing quickly becomes mayhem.

The Starting Pistol

Bruce McCall, author:
"Mayhem achieved, boredom relieved”

The Tape

Rebecca Morgan:
"Boredom achieved, mayhem relieved is exhausting and time consuming; avoid the requirement if possible."

October 19-21, 2014: New Orleans, LA: The annual APICS conference starts Sunday morning and ends Tuesday evening, with multiple general sessions and presentations in between. Tracks include S&OP, Supply Chain Risk, Supply Chain Innovation and several other important topic areas. Certification points are awarded for attendance.

November 10-14, 2014: Jacksonville FL: The annual AME international Excellence Inside conference will have outstanding presentations, workshops, keynotes and tours that the conference is known for. The first time it will be held in the SouthEast United States since 2001. Arrive early to enjoy the Sunday Monday evening networking events, including a cruise.

November 20, 2014: Cleveland, OH: The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) is featuring Becky Morgan, presenting "The Role of Supply Chain in Profitable Growth." ISM asks all attendees to invite their bosses to join this important conversation.

April 19 - 23, 2015: Jacksonville, FL: The Additive Manufacturers Users Group (AMUG) conference includes presentations, hands-on learning, and vendors addressing 12 different additive technologies, ranging from 3D Printing to Fused Deposition Modeling to Selective Laser Melting. You know these technologies will impact your business. Consider learning a lot all in one place.

May 18-21, 2015: Long Beach, CA: If April doesn't work for you, check out the SME RAPID conference in May to learn about additive manufacturing processes. Both AMUG and RAPID conferences have been delivered for many years. Compare the two conference offerings and select the one that best fits your current interests and experience.

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