For years, the pundits have warned that globalization was upon us. Look beyond the shores, they've urged. The companies that mastered the intricacies of sourcing in Changzhou or exporting to Guadalajara would flourish, they promised. The rest would be left in the dust.
As prophets before them have found, the message often fell on ears that, if not exactly deaf, were at least partially blocked. But that doesn't mean the pundits weren't right. Growth in international business has defied expectations. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. international trade in goods and services has grown to 26.9 percent of GDP today from 10.7 percent in 1970. Today, international trade totals over $2.0 trillion.
That growth is unlikely to stall anytime soon. A survey by the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award revealed that 95 percent of CEO respondents identified "more globalization" as their top challenge over the next three to five years. Eighty percent identified improving their global supply chains as their top challenge. Needless to say, the CEOs' objectives will quickly become the objectives of everyone in their organizations, logistics and supply chain managers included.
As business spins out of its purely domestic orbit, logistics managers will be caught up in the tumult. Their jobs will change; they'll need new tools, new services and new skills. But most importantly, they'll encounter new challenges in managing the business's most basic functions. Here's what they can expect: