Time for another good debate. I know b_a_betterperson will love this one.
I attended a conference at the Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue in NYC this morning. KPMG (accounting & consulting firm) was running a global sourcing seminar directed at C-Level executives. There were about 60 CEO’s, CFO’s, CIO’s from around the world.
A panel of 5 speakers led the discussion
- Industry Trends - KPMG consulting, Managing Partner from Australia
- Corp Perspective - Chief Strategic Sourcing Officer for Guardian Insurance
- Corp Perspective - VP of global shared services for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
- Tax – KPMG managing partner in their NY tax practice
- Technology – VP from Gartner Group (Technology think tank)
The discussion was mainly focused on outsourced services (i.e. call centers) but one thing that occurred to me as I sat there listening to the speakers is that there is a whole, fairly mature industry, built up around outsourcing. Consultants for negotiating your contracts, India experts, China experts, technology experts to make it all work, tax consultants to handle transfer pricing across national borders, consultants to teach your people how to move an operation, or find the right partner to outsource with, and on and on.......
My point is that if you're holding on to the archaic belief that you can "Bah Merican" you are sorely out of touch with reality. The auto industry may not be there yet but it is coming. National borders are irrelevant to the business world right now.
U.S. companies are outsourcing to India. Indian companies are in turn re-sourcing the work to Vietnam (coming on strong) and China. As I said, we were focused on services but, it could just as easily be manufacturing, or as the VP from Pfizer indicated, even intellectual property creation is being outsourced in the form of pharmaceutical research in India.
It's not gaining momentum, it's there. Companies know how to do it and there is a huge support apparatus in place. In 10 years it will be impossible to tell what the "U.S. content" of goods and services are or where the profits are ultimately going.
I for one think this is a good thing for the world at large. Others may disagree. Regardless, you are sadly deluding yourself if you think you can do anything to stop it by suporting locally produced goods.
So, go buy that Korean produced Porsche with the Mexican engine and Indian transmission. And drive it proudly!