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Globalization vs. Localization and Why They Both Matter

From now and years to come, whether a manufacturer, logistics, transportation or software partner in the supply chain, we can expect Globalization with Localization will be inter-connected.

By ·
By ·

Editor’s Note: Mark Dohnalek is President & CEO of Pivot International, the Kansas-based global product development, engineering & manufacturing firm.

Today’s manufacturing and supply chain landscape is prominently characterized by two seemingly competing forces: globalization and localization. They are both tremendously important while setting a different framework for growth. Globalization has emerging markets which are demanding a greater supply of goods, utilizing more sophisticated supply chain approaches as well as products must compete on a truly global scale. On the other side, with regulation relief, tax reform proposed and enthusiasm in the public debate for keeping manufacturing jobs at home, Localization has growing appeal even with the disrupter of 3D printing and smaller demand runs.

So, how should manufacturers balance both concepts while still being competitive?  First, we need to accept that Globalization and localization don’t necessarily have to be opposed. When we stop seeing globalization and localization as necessarily opposed to each other, we see many steps that manufacturers are taking to stay ahead of the curve can satisfy both needs. In addition to embracing automation technology, below are two key developments that every manufacturer and supply chain partner must consider:

Growing abilities of 3D printing.

In recent decades there has never been a more disruptive technology that has the potential to make manufacturers more efficient and effective. While many once believed the progress and advances of 3D printing would put manufacturers out of business – it hasn’t and it won’t. Individual use isn’t the same as large run, quality-controlled production with multiple supply chain expertise. Instead, manufacturers and supply chain teams must adopt 3D printing technology to enhance operations, improve efficiencies, cut costs and reduce waste. When this happens, more time will open up for companies to expand community relations while maintaining global operations and achieving growth.

Embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud data management.

Both of these are necessary to stay relevant, competitive and effectively work with companies anywhere in the world. The technology advances we’re seeing is impacting everything from optimization in product design, assembly room floor to speed, distribution and predictive analytics across the supply chain. In unprecedented ways, the IoT has allowed for the development of smart machinery that can talk to computer systems and robots in factories and supply houses thousands of miles away. Cloud data management is an extension of that with ease in valuable data sharing among the exact people and departments that need it, whether they’re on a plane or on the factory floor. These advances mean that the potential for efficiency has never been higher.

All of these advances will improve Globalization because of improved communication, relevant technology and the ability to remove barriers caused by distance and time-zones. But it also means we will need to continue training and innovating which will lead to the thousands of new, high-paying jobs which is a plus for Localization. 

From now and years to come, whether a manufacturer, logistics, transportation or software partner in the supply chain, we can expect Globalization with Localization will be inter-connected.

 


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From the September-October 2018
This month’s issue will help you in your job of staying ahead of the pack, following the leaders and, with luck, blazing the next trail.
The 2018 Supply Chain Top 25: Follow the leaders
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