In the last year, something has changed in China—for the first time, local sourcing offices (LSOs) have overtaken trading companies as the preferred vehicle for sourcing from China. What’s more, nearly all new factories and companies are being set up with the LSO model. So why is this happening now? And what does it mean for you? We sat down with our China sourcing experts to get the lowdown on LSOs and hybrid sourcing in general.
1) Demand is constantly changing
As we’ve mentioned, the supply chain is constantly evolving. Demand changes daily, weekly, monthly and seasonally. In order to keep up with demand shifts and stay agile, businesses have no choice but to change with it. If not, they risk poor performance or worse—losing market share entirely to their competition. A sustainable method of global procurement service that integrates both buying elements (e.g., acquisition) and creating elements (e.g., production) allows you to be more competitive by leveraging your available resources more efficiently – reducing costs and saving time for sourcing products from any location around world; shortening delivery times; and opening new markets like never before!
2) Suppliers are scattered across the globe
When it comes to sourcing, the age-old mantra better safe than sorry is more true than ever. Companies no longer have to rely on one single country for their supplies; instead, they can purchase goods from a variety of countries across different continents. The idea behind supplier diversification is simple: Use global suppliers with headquarters all over to ensure you can source inventory quickly and safely—should an epidemic arise.
3) Each unit requires a unique combination of skills
Sometimes highly specific skills are required to complete a given project. For example, it might require an actor who can play two different roles within a single script and shift from one to another seamlessly as needed, or an editor with linguistic skills in both French and German who is also familiar with specific subcultural references.
Other times, common, generalist abilities are needed for a task that requires broad applicability; such tasks might include building a mailing list, creating graphics for social media or publicizing events. Regardless of whether your team needs very specific or more generic abilities on hand at any given time—or somewhere in between—the basic idea behind sourcing hybrid talent is that there are many ways to work toward something if you know what to look for.
4) Automation can streamline complex processes
For example, many companies outsource their labor to foreign countries like China and India. While having staff overseas has many perks, it also requires a lot of logistics and support. In some cases, it’s difficult to have project leaders located on a different continent as well. For smaller companies without large teams or budgets, there is no way they can afford to have someone constantly travel back and forth between offices overseas while also juggling other important tasks.
With automated sourcing solutions that connect from one location, however, these issues can be easily avoided—as long as those solutions are easy enough for anyone to use. Automation may not always be necessary for certain aspects of global sourcing companies, but it is increasingly becoming part of an emerging hybrid system that’s growing in popularity.
Businesses looking to streamline their outsourcing efforts should think about implementing automation systems wherever possible.
5) Technology enables everyone to be more efficient
It’s hard to argue with technology. It exists for one reason: to do work for us more efficiently and inexpensively than we could ever do it ourselves. We’ve seen technology replace humans at work, whether it’s ATMs replacing bank tellers or voice-recognition software substituting telephone operators.
But we have also seen technology help humans by streamlining certain processes and making them easier, faster and more efficient (e.g., smart stock level indicators that eliminate overstocking mistakes). Technology is great at doing what it does; however, some tasks are simply better handled by a human eye on an assignment—not a computer algorithm following set programming rules. This is where hybrid sourcing comes into play.
6) The result is increased safety, efficiency, and speed
Instead of calling hospitals, a case manager calls a fleet doctor. Instead of waiting for an ambulance to be dispatched and another hour before it arrives at your house, a paramedic will arrive in minutes via his own vehicle, carrying most everything he needs to treat you right there. Your treatment happens faster.
A mobile clinic on wheels might even save your life if you’re suffering from something like diabetes or hypertension. The need for hospitals is reduced as well: There are fewer vehicles on the road, fewer people waiting for care, and cases that would otherwise require hospitalization can instead be treated by staff who are already out seeing patients—because they’re no longer confined to their office or fixed location all day long because they don’t have one at all.