Why 2012 is Not the Year to Fear

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While predicting trends has sometimes been associated with parlor games, there are some trend spotters that we all should at least make ourselves familiar with.  Especially those that have a very good track record and clearly Marian Salzman is one of them.  By applying pattern recognition, they have been trendspotting for many years with a stellar performance.  We thought we would take some of the trends that might be most relevant to our community and start a discussion of their impact.  We would strongly encourage you to find the time and go through their entire report and make up your own mind also.  I promise a fascinating read.  I will discuss 5 today and 5 tomorrow.

EMERGENCE OF AFRICA AND LIPSTICK POLITICS: – They cite a number of trends (emerging middle class with high expectations, a much younger demographic, income disparity, culture clash, cheap smart phones etc.) and each one of them needs to be understood.  Clearly, this is an area that has the potential to be a major source of supply (materials, talent etc.) but also a very high growth market.  Early adopters have already starting to enter this huge segment of the world.  Look at the strategic investments that China has been making here for years.  The most fascinating trend was the emergence of women in roles of political power in Africa.  This will have a very fundamental, extremely positive effect on society and political/economic decisions on the traditionally male centric cultures.  By the way, we would include the Middle East for most of this discussion.

Value Opportunity:  Prepare a comprehensive strategic report on Africa and circulate it amongst your client base.

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY/EVERYTHING “ECO”: According to the research, this is no longer a fad but permeates everything, especially for the younger generation – as workers, as consumers and as citizens.  Social activism is here to stay and corporations are quickly figuring out that CSR is no longer a nice thing to do but a necessity to stay competitive and survive.  Tied to that is the entire eco movement and these combined are having an impact on fashion, food, travel, packaging etc. etc.

Value Opportunity:  Ensure that CSR/ECO issues are incorporated in your process and are real decision drivers that clearly impact value.  Engage with your supply base to drive home the importance of this to you.

INTERNET OVERLOAD: The “Facebook” phenomena may be at a cusp – GASP!!  People are getting quite tired of being “tethered” 24/7.  They are tired of information overload and decision fatigue.  Internet addiction is a real issue.  Too much information sharing and the insatiable need to keep your information current is becoming quite a chore.  People are reporting drug withdrawal like symptoms in experiments.  I don’t quite think we’re at a Gladwell-like Tipping Point but clearly at a pause where people are slowly re-evaluating their relationship with technology.

Value Opportunity:  Make sure you have some kind of Knowledge Management strategy that incorporates this issue.  TMI is worse that not enough information and it can lead to action paralysis.

BRIC or BRIIC: Indonesia???  Yup – Indonesia.  One of the fasted growing economies and one that Marian and her team suggest should at par with the BRIC countries in importance.  Please see the section on Africa above for some of the same logic.  In addition, “new Credit Suisse report29 stating that “[t]he rise in personal wealth in Indonesia has been stunning since the year 2000, with average wealth growing by a factor of five.”  With that kind of explosive growth, it is clearly going to enjoy a significant surge in economic activity.  Oh by the way, it also happens to be the largest Muslim country in the world so looking at it as a supply source or market means fully understanding a set of cultural dynamics that are going to be relatively new for most of us(can you say Halal?)

Value Opportunity:  Make sure that your organization fully understand Indonesia as an arbitrage opportunity with a particular emphasis on cross cultural dynamics

SHOPPING GOES VIRTUAL:  We all know about Black Monday and increase in online sales but with technologies like Kinect, shoppers can now try many different outfits online and shop accordingly.  Price comparing apps are putting more and more power in the hands of the consumers.  Social networking also means that consumers can now exchange information and unite in providing feedback to the provider and that is changing the power dynamic in the market.  Amazon’s club means that delayed gratification is being eliminated as a constraint to onl9ine shopping.  All of these trends are fundamentally changing the way we shop and therefore will have a profound impact on supply chains.

Value Opportunity:  Highlight the impact of this trend on your business and start examining the supply chain for future fit.  For example, the supply chain from warehouse to store may have to dramatically change to warehouse to customer?


Which trends do you think are most likely to come true?

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Check back tomorrow as I list the next five.



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Dalip Raheja
Dalip Raheja is President and CEO of The Mpower Group (TMG). Dalip has over 30 years of experience managing large organizations and change initiatives. He has worked across the spectrums of supply chain management, strategic sourcing, and management consulting.


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