Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Supply Chains N More

Okay, so I have to admit, I've been lagging in my reading of "The World is Flat". Today I hit up about 50 pages while at Orientspiration(more on Or later). Let me just go ahead and say wow. Many of us have had some inkling of what was going on with outsourcing and the impact it has had via the flattening effects it has on the world. However, somebody stepped in and slapped me when I read the #8 flattener. As a bit of a spoiler.. it is about UPS revitalizing the concept of the Supply Chain, and any companies ability to outsource it these days. This was new information to my ears.

For many companies, in fact most around the world, they are not able to create the best supply chain possible. Why? For one it takes talent, knowledge, and a good deal of skill. Without those things, it is easy for a supply chain to become antiquated, slow, and certainly lagging behind what your competitor is utilizing to pump their product out at the cheapest price possible to the farthest reaches of the globe. So what to do if you aren't a specialist in supply chains? Or in another instance, what if you are a small company and an attempt to create a supply chain would be inefficient? Instead of leveraging something that you don't have to leverage, rather turn to a company that will leverage it for you. That is what UPS has done... and instead of being limited to simply pushing packages around the world (which they do exceptionally well), they realized a core competency that they have (er, supply chains of course) and now sell that service to customers. So at the UPS hub you can now find departments devoted to providing warehouse and shipping, customer support, repair, etc for a variety of companies that have realized that supply chains just aren't what they do best. However, it is something that UPS does best. And they can do it for you.

That to me is amazing. If I had a fantastic business concept that required me to stock product... I could call up UPS and with a little capital they could help me with my supply chain issues. Now that's a business concept that has a nearly unlimited potential. Now, I just have to think of something to sell, and they will help me with the rest.

Today I tried a new local place that differed a little from the regular java joint. Orientspiration is a retail store that sells Chinese products for an extremely low price, but on top of that they have a variety of great teas. One of the best aspects of it though is that its quiet. See, when you go to a coffee shop there are often quite a few customers... many a times customers with children. If those aren't there, then it will be customers there for meetings. All of that can get quite loud and when I am trying to sit around and relax with a good book, I just need some peace and quiet to be able to absorb it. Or (as I call it) has a peaceful environment and generally soothing music in the background. So, if any of you are in the North Raleigh area, I definitely recommend giving it a try. It is aesthetically appealing and a nice place to stop for a cup of tea or two.

In summary: Is your supply chain a core competency? If not, would be it more effective to outsource it?*

*Friedman refers to it as "in-sourcing".


Anonymous eggmom said...

tea...now you're talking! and there's something more relaxing about tea than coffee anyway, isn't there!
i'm glad you're getting to read and watch at the same time. look carefully as you visit different places and you'll continue to pick up lots of ideas and concepts. I think if people evaluated more they'd change the way they do things.

9/27/2006 2:25 PM  

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