Coming up on Wednesday 17th January 2007 is the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Business Expo 2007 organized by the New Haven Manufacturers Association and the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce. The very first panel discussion at 10.30 am is on "Procurement Strategies in the Global Economy" which is sponsored by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) and the Connecticut Association of Purchasing Management(CAPM).
I am on this panel with the topic " 5 quick tips on adding value to your global supply chain," alongwith members of the CAPM. At last count 35 people had registered for the session and I am putting finishing touches on my "5 quick tips". For this predominantly manufacturing audience I am going to emphasize the huge global opportunities there are for the entrepreneurial American manufacturing firm. As I mentioned earlier in this blog, for example India is buying commercial aircraft at the highest ever rate in the world. All these aircraft engines need overhaul in due course and US aircraft engine makers would be really pleased to see local repairers who are partners of known smaller US firms but are available in India to provide service. In other words my "first tip" is to encourage manufacturers to be "South " focused. "South" in my supply chain view is the customer at every downstream link of the supply chain and distribution channel. South also is Mexico ,Brazil and other low cost- in-US locations like Kentucky.
My next "tip" is to look " north" in the upstream supply chain – geographically to Canada and at every link upstream on your particular supply chain. My third and fourth tip is "East" and West". These are the geographies of new suppliers and markets ( East with China, India, Middle East and Africa) and the new West being former Soviet countries, new NATO members who are so keen to globalize. At a metaphorical level "East and West" are looking at industries that are different but that can give huge ideas. For example as Eric Von Hippel says in his lead user research – the auto industry got the idea of ABS brakes from aerospace folks who had the urgent need to stop planes quickly and with no uncertainty on runways.
My fifth "tip" is to enhance your personal network. Just as I mentioned in an earlier blog, college kids today have 300 contacts on their Facebook. Each of those contacts would reply to a query pretty fast….. no matter where they are on the globe. There is no reason that an entrepreneur in the Greater New Haven Area cannot systematically maintain contact with at least those they already know.
In summary my "5 quick tips to add value to your global supply chain" is to look "South,North,East, West and Around" your own present supply chain!
If you are in the area do check out the Business Expo at 25 Science Park at Yale University, New Haven on Wednesday 17th January.