TON program on location: Assessing & selecting, re-shoring, and business clusters

January 23, 2015

We had a terrific TON program yesterday at GN.


We kicked off the overall theme of “Location” by noting the countries in which the folks present have outsourced. The list quickly grew long and comprehensive, reaching to Hungary, Malaysia, Uganda, Lithuania, Brazil, and of course, India and China, in addition to many many more. It was a visible reminder of how we are working on a global scale.


Mathias Kjær Lönneker and Nicolai Tandrup from AT Kearney noted the rebound in foreign direct investment in the world market as indication that sourcing in its many forms is front-and-center in many organizations’ strategic planning. As part of their session on assessing and selecting locations, they also touched on the growing trend towards robotics and automation which they dubbed the “no location” location: Food for thought for the future of sourcing.


GN’s Johan Crusefalk, VP Global Supply Chain Management, and Fredrik Cedmert, Director Commodity Management, Global Procurement & Supply Chain, each brought perspective to the issue of localization and the logic of business clusters. They detailed their global, flat, end-to-end supply chain based around their business cluster in southeast China and Hong Kong, which has been built up around proximity to suppliers and their sub-suppliers.


Adding an interesting counterpoint, Bent Petersen, Professor at CBS, tossed out some concepts of location flexibility in sourcing: What is it? Is it a competitive advantage? How do companies achieve it, e.g. through multiple production sites, standardized inputs and/or mobile resources?


Lydia Bals, Professor at Hochschule Mainz-Fachbereich Wirtschaft University of Applied Sciences-School of Business, raised the topic of re-shoring and insourcing, an issue the press has often focused on. Lydia’s research revealed certain patterns of movement by German and US companies from both outsourced and captive offshored and domestic centers. Central to the results was that there are two main drivers for this movement; Strategic, e.g. desire for increased quality or proximity to sales markets; and Reactive, e.g. to failure or instability.


One of the many high points of the day was Steen Marquard’s presentation about Jabra’s view on new ways of working, primarily, the need to carve out private zones using GN’s headset and voice technology. Bringing the point home in a nice gesture, Steen gave all TON members at the program one of GN’s latest models.


Our next program is March 24 at LEO Pharma in Ballerup. Our theme is “innovation.” Already on the program and B&O and GN who will discuss their work involving suppliers in product roadmapping. We are also planning on a session looking at outsourcing innovation in R&D.


Should you wish to join our network or hear more about our work in TON, please contact Katie Gove at