There are still too many people who are wary of global sourcing. It’s as though they feel using global sourcing means they are cheating in some way, that they’re being disloyal to domestic suppliers. Honestly, I can see why some people feel that way, but it just doesn’t make any sense.
In a sense, the world is getting flatter. Global sourcing will make all of us better. For the most part, commerce and trade between countries create a common ground of mutual benefits for those participating countries. I can assure you from personal experience that companies that trade together and cooperate with one another, get along better. No matter which country you are talking about, companies that work together do not want trouble between them; they want the exact opposite, and, in the end, this is the most important advantage of global sourcing.
We are all striving to build the best products we can, and global sourcing offers the opportunity to do just that. Great products are built with great components. To find the best of everything in the world, you have to go global.
Here are some of the very best reasons to go global:
- Cost efficiency. Global sourcing allows businesses to find suppliers in regions with lower production costs, thereby reducing manufacturing expenses and increasing profitability.
- Access to specialized skills. Different parts of the world excel in specific industries and products, which provides access to unique expertise and specialized skills.
- Quality improvement. Accessing suppliers with advanced technology and stringent quality standards can enhance product quality and customer satisfaction.
- Scalability. Global sourcing facilitates rapid scaling of production to meet growing demand without extensive investment in infrastructure. It allows you to extend far beyond the limitations of brick and mortar. A company with the capacity to manufacture $10 million in sales can extend that revenue reach by millions of dollars if they use qualified global partners. With global sourcing, the scaling possibilities are limitless.
- Competitive advantage. Businesses that leverage global sourcing gain a competitive edge by reducing costs and offering unique products and services.
- 100% yields. When you buy from a strategic partner you only pay for what you get. The partner has to deal with yield issues while you do not because you are building the product in your own facility.
- Diversification of suppliers. In this case, the world is literally your oyster. With the freedom of global sourcing, you have accessibility to every supplier in the world. Without geographical boundaries, you can choose suppliers from any region of the world. If something happens to one of our suppliers, you can move on to another. Better yet, you should have multiple suppliers in different global regions, reducing the risk of supply chain interruptions, from earthquakes to political unrest.
- Faster time to market. You get access to faster production and delivery channels in certain regions that can expedite the time-to-market for new products. Remember, global sourcing means “global” sourcing. The last time I checked, the United States was part of the global community. I’m not trying to be funny here; I am reminding you that global sourcing means you can also use American supplier partners who do things that you cannot do. “No boundaries” is one of the great things about global sourcing.
- Sustainability benefits. Sourcing from countries with strong sustainability practices can align businesses with environmentally and socially responsible initiatives.
- Learning and development. Engaging in global sourcing necessitates adapting to diverse business practices and culture, promoting continuous learning and development within the organization. In short, the more companies you know and the more countries you work with, the more knowledgeable you become about your product, your industry, and the market. Just the very act of traveling to these companies in these countries will make you that much smarter and better informed about your industry.
- Innovative opportunities. Collaborating with suppliers from diverse cultures and markets can foster innovation through an exchange of ideas, approaches, techniques, and manufacturing processes.
- Limitless technology reach. Through global sourcing, you can offer your customers literally any technologies, services, or products. If something is possible, if something is being built, you can globally source it. Whatever your customer needs, you can provide it. The world is your resource; your reach is limitless.
- Expanded market reach. By sourcing globally, you can tap into international markets, expanding your own customer base and revenue stream. The trade doors swing both ways and when you are sourcing globally, you should take full advantage of the opportunity to market and sell globally as well.
The final and perhaps greatest advantage is that using global sourcing leads to more peace. In the end, people, companies, and even countries that cooperate and work together have no interest in waging war against one another.
Bob Duke is president of the Global Sourcing Division at American Standard Circuits.