Only 20 Days until the US Election.

If you are an American Citizen anywhere on the planet (or off of the planet, able to see this post in time, and able to cast a ballot off-world), then

1) Please Make Sure You are Registered to Vote
— And —
2) PLEASE VOTE! (And vote now if you are decided and are able to.)

The official election day may be 20 days away, but with many states offering mail-in / early voting, you may be able to vote now!

To find out when and how you can vote in your state, or as an absentee of your state, you can visit sites like
Better Know a Ballot or Get Your Booty to the Poll!

And if you haven’t registered yet, remember you can Register to Vote Online and you can confirm the answer to the question Am I Registered to Vote at (in partnership with Global Citizen).

There’s no excuse not to vote. Thanks to the pandemic, there’s not much else you can do anyway.

So, please, Vote and bring Hope back.

(Or, if you so choose, vote against hope. Voting is your right despite what some of your leaders might have you believe. But just remember, Sourcing Innovation, along with many other future possibilities, will not return until hope does.)


If you are an American Citizen:


And hopefully step 2 helps you to:


SI cannot help you with your sourcing and supply chains now as long as there is an administration in charge that:

a) randomly closes borders
b) randomly levies tariffs
c) randomly angers and upsets its trading partners
d) fails to ensure adequate measures are in place to support essential workers needed for global trade
e) …

We have a situation where all of the risks and problems of low-cost country sourcing and third-world country sourcing are now home-country sourcing problems for all multi-nationals (as even EU-HQ’d multi-nationals typically rely heavily on the US) and the only advice that makes any sense is to:

* move sourcing / procurement out of the US
* move manufacturing / US out of the US except for that supporting the home US market (if you still have one)
* move distribution / fulfillment out of the US except for supporting the home US market (if you still have one)

and headquarter / CoE out of the EU or Canada that don’t do a) to d) listed above [or e) to zzz) not listed above] and then relocate actual sourcing / manufacturing  to locales with leadership that can handle

i) tough geopolitical situations
ii) tough epidemic/pandemic/natural disaster situations
iii) increased global business support through available manpower, infrastructure, and appetite
iv) tough local economic/political situations

which now means that
a) Mexico is off the table (since it welcomes Americans freely and has little pandemic control in place)
b) China is off the table for some categories (due to increasing technology bans around the world and detereorating relationships as a result of those bans and its hostage diplomacy)
c) Brazil might be off the table (due to inability to handle the pandemic, increasing unrest, and increasing violence / crime)
… and 3 of the 5 biggest countries you have depended on outside of the US for the last 3-4 decades are now high-risk too!

Which means your supply chains need to flip, and SI will be happy to walk you though how to do that once you have a stable economic landscape in which to rebuild (especially since it was telling you a decade ago to source not half a world away, but “close to home” for every locale you’re in), but with the unpredictability now at an all time high (especially with the US at risk of becoming an authoritarian government), there is no sure plan for anyone to recover.

So, again, if you are US citizen anywhere in the world, SI implores you to:


so that maybe, just maybe, next year we can rebuild and do so in a way that is sustainable, equitable, balances what should have been done decades ago, and allows you to see the true power and beauty of a well designed supply chain.

However, just like a road needs to be paved over gravel and rocks and not swamp and leaves to be stable, a supply chain also needs a solid foundation as well — and right now the global environment (especially when you throw Brexit into the mix as well), is not giving it that.

So, until stability resumes, the only you thing you can count on is that you can’t count on anything and your most important Source-to-Pay and Supply Chain system is your Real-Time Risk Monitoring and Mitigation Command Center, preferably acquired from a risk-management vendor that tightly integrates with your S2C suite and supply chain suite and marries external risk indicators with organizational data and the wisdom of the network supply chain crowd to help you spot risks and necessary changes before it’s too late.

After all, thanks to the chaos created by the US over the past year, the name of the game is now reactive survival instead of strategic supply planning.

And since SI is all about strategic planning, development, and innovation to get us to the next level, until some stability returns, the best thing you can do is make sure one of your risk management command center integrations is a provider who provides you with daily insight on spotting and mitigating risks before they cause your bankruptcy.

In a few days, SI will either augment this post or create a new one with links to relevant providers you should be looking at if you aren’t already and content you should be reading.   But regular content on SI will not return until stability does.  No use planning a long term improvement project if you won’t be around to see it.

So again, if you are an American Citizen anywhere in the world:


Thank you.  The modern world now depends on each and every one of you making the right choice!

Sustainable Supply Chains Sacrifice China! (Most of the Time.)

Last Friday we posted China is the Enemy because, especially where your supply chain is concerned, China has just demonstrated what SI has known for over a decade — it is the enemy. (This isn’t the only situation where China or the CCP is the enemy, but those are different rants. Note that we do NOT equate China or CCP with Chinese people. Most Chinese are NOT the enemy of your supply chain or democracy just like most Americans are NOT the enemy of intelligence and common sense.)

Long time readers will know that in the naughts, SI spent a lot of bandwidth telling your deaf ears that you should be investing heavily in nearshoring and home country sourcing because of the dangers of outsourcing in general, and, the dangers of oversourcing to a specific country, like China, in particular — which have finally become very apparent. It’s too bad it took a freakin’ pandemic to make clear how dangerous it is to outsource so many critical products and JIT materials to a country halfway around the globe, especially when such sourcing in bulk across the industry leads to the lack of capacity close to home due to factory closures and talent evaporation.

There’s a reason the doctor told you two weeks ago to remember the 80’s (and the early 80s in particular) … and that’s because that’s the last time most multi-national corporations in the Americas got outsourcing right … when they were near-sourcing to Mexico (who should build the wall just to keep Trump out, but that’s yet another rant for another day).

Let’s face it, some stuff just shouldn’t be sourced from home. Stuff that’s not critical, stuff that’s very expensive to make at home (but easily trucked across a single border) for various reasons (which can go beyond labour to energy costs if there are no affordable renewable sources nearby, transportation costs for raw or unprocessed materials are ridiculous otherwise, etc.), or stuff where most of the raw materials or necessary environmental conditions (for growing, mining, etc.) are just not present at, or near, home.

But when you consider a typical organization, how much stuff really falls into this category? First of all, you have to exclude any product for (re)sale that’s a primary profit line. Then you need to exclude any raw material or component critical to production unless you just can’t get it nearby. Then any product necessary for security or safety. And so on. At the end of the day, you don’t have much left, and if you’re doing the analysis right, you’re going to be left with:

  • raw materials and products just not available nearby (because you need certain growing conditions, large deposits of a mineral only found in certain geographies, etc.)
  • processed materials or chemicals where the raw materials are very expensive or dangerous to transport
  • products unique to a culture or region
  • novelty or other items not critical to your business

which (before the short-sighted wall-street loving common sense hating clueless and unskilled consultants of the late 80’s and early 90’s, like Steve Castle, put everything into the outsourcing bandwagon and blinged it out beyond belief) were the only products a company would outsource halfway around the world and still the only products a company should be sourcing from halfway around the world. Everything else should be near-sourced, and if really critical or the cost differential is small, home-sourced.

This also means that just shifting everything to another country in the BRIC, and India (which is ruled by a more open, transparent, and dependable democracy) in particular, is also NOT the answer. (They may not be the enemy, but they are still NOT the answer.)

So, unless you want your Supply Chain to completely collapse after the next global disaster, go back to basics, remember the smart outsourcing decision from the 80s, reopen those Mexican factories, and start near-sourcing again. And then, where you can, bring it back (close to) home.