This month’s Academic of Outsourcing tribute goes to Douglass C. North for his work on “new institutional economics.” North – a professor, economist, philosopher and economic historian – was the co-recipient (with Robert Fogel) of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences “for having renewed research in economic history by applying economic theory and quantitative methods in order to explain economic and institutional change.”
In a recent 4C poll* of 227 UK retail procurement executives, 89% responded that they either had no plan in place or were unaware that their company had a plan in place. What should you consider now so that you’re prepared for the March 2019 Brexit deadline?
A 2012 report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that nearly 21 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour, with the highest concentrations found in countries in central and southeastern Europe and in Africa. With complex global supply chains the main vehicle of global trade and commerce, regulators face a stiff challenge policing against workplace abuse, especially given the pattern of outsourcing production to jurisdictions where labour standards and their enforcement are weaker than at home.
Growing economic uncertainty has seen many businesses look to procurement for a means to increase savings and ultimately drive growth. This is especially true in the retail industry where common issues include mounting costs, struggling suppliers, increased competition and expanding supply chains. On top of this, savings must be achieved without affecting the quality of the end product or customer experience.
Wow! Isn’t it amazing how quickly things change? In the early 2000s, the very pinnacle of outsourcing was Walmart. Walmart didn’t outsource its own operations. Instead, it made history by working with offshore suppliers, introducing American consumers to low-cost Chinese goods. Consumers fell in love with the low prices, and Walmart grew to 14,000 stores, becoming the biggest corporation in America.
Leading companies are working to extend management of the corporate risk profile to road safety. This is achieved by acknowledging key challenges, understanding the big picture and launching well-targeted strategic programs that consider local challenges and solutions. Such programs include driver management (driver selection, development and monitoring), vehicle management (including best use of new technologies) and assessing and managing route risks.
In 2015, the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress reported that the fashion industry globally is valued at $1.2 trillion. (Ref. 1) Of that $1.2 trillion, more than $250 billion is spent annually in the United States alone and this number continues to grow. Current reports show that the retail value of the apparel and shoe industry in the USA was valued at almost $360 billion (and counting) in 2015. (Ref. 2)
For outsourcers, a commitment to best practice processes is absolutely vital for success. They not only ensure that your business is offering best-of-breed services, but they also go a long way in reducing overall business costs and working capital by as much as 15 to 20 per cent. These result in a highly competitive enterprise, able to maintain growth while driving business-wide efficiencies.
Business services are usually at the core of organisational endeavours, structured to build and manage a variety of workflows and dependencies in a concerted manner. The end goal for all such services is the smooth functioning of an organisation, built around some strategic goals usually manifested in revenues, growth, competitiveness and shareholder value. Over the course of more than two centuries, industrial advancements – enabled through scientific and technological innovations – have assisted with building and sustaining complex workflows, products and services.
To read the first part of this interview, click here.
O: With all of that in mind, what are the implications for the global business services model? Where do you sit on global business services (GBS)? Are you a fan?