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Supply Chain Outlook 2015: Looking to the Future

I presented at Supply Chain Outlook 2015, an event hosted by the Supply Chain Management Review in Chicago on Monday morning.  This was an excellent venue for discussion of emerging trends and what we can look forward to in 2016.  A kickoff meeting by a renowned economist discussed some of the issues around global growth, and where the growth will come from.  The growth of a rising middle class in China, India, and other countries in Asia was identified as a major source of revenue growth for many US companies.  While the US will continue to grow slowly, it is still recognized as a primary economic driver in the world, despite all the predictions that China will become the next super power.

I had a chance to engage with the audience on a spirited discussion of how procurement needs to seize the opportunity to expand its role through increased business value drivers to the business.  Being in Chicago, I used the opportunity to share how people like Jon Stegner has changed procurement at the University of Chicago Medical Center through increased stakeholder engagement, and also discussed the role of procurement in driving sustainability and risk management outcomes in the countries they operate in.

We also heard from a speaker talking about the movement towards Reshoring in America.  The speaker had spent a lot of time working with companies helping them to offshore to places like China, and was now engaged in the reverse activity – bringing it back.  She pointed out that much of the re-shoring will not be the same industries.  We will probably keep the higher value added manufacturing, that requires extensive engineering skills, complexity, high technology precision, and customization for customer requirements.  It was also pointed out that the supply chain for manufacturing in America also has to be re-created – many of the suppliers in these industries are no longer there.  But the trend is definitely going in the direction of manufacturing moving back locally to America.

Overall – a great kickoff for Supply Chain Management Review’s first conference.  Kudos to Bob Trebilock, their editor, for pulling this off!