The Europeans are struggling sideways, the American’s muddling onward … and Maurice Sendak has passed on. So, where are the wild things? Agility is about adaption. In Maurice’s iconic book, Where the Wild Things Are, a naughty boy embarks on an odyssey across the sea to a land where he encounters wild monsters and enters into a giant rumpus. Does this sound familiar? Escaping from a recession, the US Economy undertook a journey across the void into a land of unmitigated mortgages followed by a rumpus of real estate speculation. A few years later, the ever proud Europeans thinking themselves above the fray, promptly joined the rumpus.
Then the crash resolutely arrived. And finally, as in Where the Wild Things Are, the global economy is finding its way back home. The trip back to safety has proven uneven if not downright rocky; and each global region is adopting a slightly different course.
This unique dynamic has presented unexpected planning challenges. European manufacturing organizations are struggling to improve regional coordination of supply and demand in the face of Euro uncertainty and Greek elections. American manufacturing organizations are re-assessing off-shoring strategies in the face of rising costs in the traditional offshore manufacturing centers as well as threats to supply chain security. Resurgent emerging economies such as Brazil, India and China are turning centuries -old trading patterns on their head. This is forcing companies to re-assess their planning, procurement and logistics processes.
For example, Steelwedge client Tata’s Jaguar-Land Rover is surging based on exports to India and China. However, the management roles—and the supply chain—have now reversed. Walking down the halls of Jaguar-Land Rover near Oxford, England—a place where some of the most storied cars of the British Empire were produced, one encounters superbly dressed senior executives visiting from the Tata parent company in India. Founded in 1922 as the preeminent British car manufacturer, Jaguar quickly became a showcase of British design and manufacturing capabilities. Today, after decades of struggle under American and British ownership, Jaguar has become a showcase of India management prowess.
The turn-around in fortune at Jaguar-Land Rover has created new challenges that are being addressed with the roll-out of a new sales and operations planning process (S&OP)—a process engineered to provide increased agility and respond to constantly changing global market dynamics. Specifically, Jaguar-Land Rover now sells over 15% of its cars to China, over 5% to Russia, and a rapidly increasing number to India. Unprecedented growth in potentially volatile emerging markets has forced Jaguar-Land Rover to become more agile and adopt a world class S&OP process.
The global rumpus continues to change form. Is your business agile enough to respond and survive when the wild things roar their terrible roars and gnash their terrible teeth and roll their terrible eyes next?
Farewell to Maurice who embraced the wild and wooly and recognized that childhood and life is a very tricky business indeed.