The modern supply chain has been vaunted for its ability to span the globe. Companies are no longer logistically limited in where they can source their materials or market their goods, with data and items moving around the world at unprecedented speeds. Of course, when discussing the possibilities of manufacturing and selling products around the world, it pays to zoom in a little closer and inspect some of the complexities and unique features that come with global operations.
Some of the unique interest comes from the fact that not all markets are at the same stage of technological development. Infrastructure differs across territories, and organizations adapting their operations to new environments may find themselves having to alter their own approaches to suit the surroundings. Mastering this process of adaptation is one way to become a market leader.
Unlocking emerging markets' potential
Supply Chain Digital recently indicated global companies' approach to entering developing markets has changed in recent years. Due to the introduction of more digitized elements to the supply chain, businesses feel free to move into territories where they may have been limited by weak infrastructure before. Perhaps most importantly, the fact that digital technology is available to both small and large businesses has enabled firms of all kinds to set up shop in underserved markets.
International trade can be challenging, as firms have to create offerings that will suit local tastes and work within the existing structures of new territories' markets. The fact that supply chain management tools are now affordable and scalable, with many new deployments based in the cloud, has presented a key to unlock this market complexity. Agility Global Integrated Logistics' Essa Al-Saleh told Supply Chain Management Review it's "refreshing" to see so much of the potential opportunity going to small and medium operators.
While companies' supply chain management systems are part of the equation for improving international operations, each nation's infrastructure does have an effect on how successful businesses will be in selling in that market. Supply Chain Management Review specified nations have risen in potential commerce growth rankings by becoming more effective in terms of transportation links within their borders.
In Accenture's report on succeeding in emerging commercial markets, the company listed four factors that determined success. First, leaders must employ a diverse array of strategies, picking the most situationally appropriate option for the market conditions they find. Second, businesses cost structures should be efficient and lean without losing their focus on product quality. Third, organizations should make use of technology wherever possible. Finally, supply chains should receive constant investment as conditions change, allowing operations to thrive over time.
Maintaining effective operations across varied and complex international markets isn't easy, but there are no shortcuts to logistical success in emerging commercial spaces. Organizations that embrace the right technologies and use the resulting efficiency and responsiveness to their fullest extent may find themselves able to meet local expectations while dealing with pressure from competitors. The promise of international commerce, which has seemed nearly unlimited since the dawn of the internet age, is finally coming into focus.