We know what offshoring is: when you take a piece of the business operations – whether it be a major project or daily task – and outsource the work to a country that is far away from the business location. For example, a US manufacturer that offshores parts of its work to China.
And we know what nearshoring is: when you put that project or task in the hands of a team that are located in a neighboring country or region. For example, a US-based telecoms company that nearshores its customer service in Latin America.
Then there’s onshoring, when you outsource the project or task to a team that is located in the same country as the business.
But there’s another shore washing up on doors of businesses in need of reducing their supply chain risks.
Sureshoring. Anchored to today’s pressing need to reduce supply chain risks and strengthen general operations, sureshoring refers to the ability to source products from multiple locations in order to avoid a single point of failure.
A synonym of sureshoring could be multishoring.
It points towards businesses needing to take a more complex approach to global supply chains, particularly when it comes to the sourcing of products.
Over the past couple of decades, businesses have looked at the offshoring of manufacturing as a binary – you either go all in or nothing.
But reality is often more complicated. And a better answer in today’s environment would be a more complex yet effective hybrid approach.
Mitigating risk through sourcing diversification has long been practiced by businesses. Yet with the current state of technology, these businesses are better able to do that.
Leading tech such as 3D printing now lets manufacturing become easily dispersed, particularly in the lighter industrial sectors like in food and apparel.
This also implies greater complexities in the supply chain. Yet the tireless speed of technology means that there are answers to help manage this, too.
And key to this direction is for businesses to own their own data, instead of relying on intermediaries to let them know when something is wrong.
“If you have control of your destiny,” said Brian Glick, CEO at Chain.io, “you can operationalize the data, as opposed to having a visibility platform that sits on the side and lets you see that things are broken, but you can’t do anything about it.”
What’s important is the advancement in warehouse and shipping visibility, better GPS tracking capabilities, and real-time status reports, which have all enabled the management of more complex supply chain networks.
Yet data is often an underrated component. Having direct control over data means that shippers are able to react quickly to events such as weather events like hurricanes or congestion at ports.