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by Jennie S. Bev, Santa Clara

How we do
business has evolved greatly since 1980s and 1990s. Many things have become
more convenient, but others might require more efforts with a new shift of
consciousness. Thus, businesses should be aware of the
global macrotrends and the new
challenges in supply chain management.

New and
disruptive macroeconomic variables include population growth and migration,
rising economies and new buying power, global connectivity, increased
geopolitical activity and environmental and climate change, according to a new
book “Global Macrotrends and Their Impact on Supply Chain Management: Strategies
for Gaining Competitive Advantage” by
Chad Autry, Thomas Goldsby and John Bell. 

We should
expect to see the world population become ten billion by 2050 and the most populated regions would
remain Southeast Asia and Africa. These trends requires unprecedented distribution and marketing
channels to reach customers, including a 24/7/365 global connectivity through
real-time Internet. 

These days emerging
countries are looking to secure supplies of natural resources such as oil, coal
and others. Developed countries have their own “stocking up” agenda, including having
enough farmland (or making what they have more productive) to ensure adequate
food supplies to feed themselves. Natural resources, food and water have become
harder to gather as the population expands and resources dwindle, in both size
and productivity. Global warming and other ecological threats will aggravate
this situation.

All these
changes affect the world economy and the business supply chain. The questions need to be
asked, such as what trends are
likely to affect your company and how are
you managing them by transforming the supply chain. While countries with one
billion people like China and India or Indonesia with 240 million are tempting
for expansion, they can be quite frustrating
when it comes to supply chain. 

With the
world getting more complex and rarely in a state of equilibrium, companies must
work hard to have efficiency in channels of distribution, inventory and labor
management is required in order to reach a minimal level of inventory, which is
the ultimate goal. But gridlocks are common in many countries, including in
Indonesia, not merely due to poor infrastructure but also to various other
factors, such as uneven regulatory enforcement. 

Lastly,
despite the fact that supply and demand integration is never without
challenges, companies that ensure they have controllable systems at optimal
performance would decrease any risk imposed by today’s changes.[]

Forbes Indonesia, September 2013

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