Chris Anderson, CEO of the civilian drone company 3D Robotics, has an opinion piece in yesterday’s New York Times where he coins the catchy term “quicksourcing.” His main operation is in San Diego, and to better compete with the Chinese, he set up a second plant across the border in Tijuana. As he put it:
As any entrepreneur can tell you, the shorter and more nimble a supply chain is, the better.
A textbook description of “lean,” but should be “any manufacturer.”
After enumerating all the internal advantages, which are real but important only if you’re cranking out products that sell, he comes to the strategic advantages:
Finally, a short supply chain is an incentive to innovate. … when you’re doing just-in-time manufacturing, you can change the product every day if you want — whether to take advantage of some better or cheaper component or to improve the design.
In other words, you can learn more quickly and incorporate, that is, test, what you learn more quickly. Observe, orient, hypothesis, test. Should be familiar.