Date Added: Sep 2009
Just as it has affected almost all business functions and operations, globalization is challenging manufacturing companies' ability to achieve high performance. Many of these challenges revolve around the complexity of managing globally extended supply chains, including the difficulty of matching supply (steel, rubber, parts, etc.) from various locations with hard-to-forecast and geographically dispersed local demand from new customers who often have needs quite different from existing customers. That forces companies to shift production from one area to another (which itself may be contrary to lean principles of more narrow, end-to-end focus and repeatability), following cost-benefits and emerging demand, with the added complexity of dealing with fluctuating exchange rates, unfamiliar tax and customs regulations, and increasing environmental concerns that make it even more difficult for manufacturers to determine the best locations for manufacturing operations.