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Succeeding in the Global Economy

By APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi CSCP, CPA, CAE | 0 | 0 | December 14, 2012

APICS Operations Management NowMonday’s Wall Street Journal included “A New Industrial Policy for Europe,” an interesting opinion piece by a large group of officials from throughout Europe. It lays out challenges and opportunities presented by the rough economic situation. The authors urge companies, entrepreneurs, and workers to “formulate business strategy from a global perspective to adapt to changing market trends.”

Written by authorities from Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, and Germany, the piece encourages students, researchers, workers, and entrepreneurs to innovate and take a leading role in creating competitive companies that operate internationally in a wider range of sectors. Further, the authors implore public authorities to adopt measures that strengthen businesses and their environments.

The authors reference a report by the EU Competitiveness Council, “A Stronger European Industry for Growth and Economic Recovery.” They write: “This document clearly orients the main pillars of EU industrial policy toward competitiveness by promoting the right framework for investment in innovation, establishing better conditions in both internal and overseas markets, mobilizing financial resources at the private and public level, and stimulating human capital and skills.”

While these messages are aimed at Europeans, it’s clear that businesspeople and decision makers around the world could benefit from contemplating some of these themes. These ideas also underscore many of those laid out in “Manufacturing the Future: The next era of global growth and innovation,” the report by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) that I’ve been highlighting during the past couple of weeks in this Operations Management Nowseries.

For example, consider MGI’s prediction: “Not only will companies compete in different ways and build new production and supply networks as they respond to new kinds of demand and forces of change in the global environment, but nations also will learn to compete on a wider range of factors than labor cost or tax rates.”

Finding your space in the global marketplace

After reading the Wall Street Journal article, the MGI report, and more throughout this year it increasingly is clear to me that it is impossible to survive a major economic trauma, like what’s being called “The Great Recession,” without the landscape shifting. However, the global economy is a dynamic thing. New ecosystems and networks have formed and are forming still. 

In its report, MGI lays out some opportunities that are surfacing in this complex and uncertain business world. First, demand is shifting and fragmenting. MGI projects that 1.8 billion people will join the global consuming class by 2025, expanding demand for products manufactured around the world. Next, innovations create new possibilities, including those sparked by additional demand and high productivity.

As the structure of global value chains shift and emerge, supply chain and operations management professionals can play a key role connecting manufacturing, productivity, and strategy within companies and throughout economies. You can prepare yourself for this imperative responsibility by earning your APICS Certified Supply Chain Professionaldesignation. Or, if you already have achieved this, consider how you can support your employees as they pursue APICS certification.

I encourage you to continue this discussion in the Operations Management Now communityon the APICS Supply Chain Channel.

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