Should countries be more self-sufficient?

Has the time come to bring our supply chains home?

Has the current coronavirus epidemic taught us that every nation should be more self-sufficient and to rely on imports only for things that cannot be produced domestically?

If Brexit wasn’t a wake up call to the fact that we should become more self-sufficient as a nation then the Coronavirus certainly is. But now that wake up call relates to every country on the globe. All countries should aim to be as self-sufficient as possible and only rely on imports where restricting factors such as climate, natural resources or proprietary knowledge is a factor.

The most obvious disadvantage in repatriating supply chains are the higher labour costs which exist in advanced nations. However, as we know, the labour cost is a small part of overall cost and those of us who work in industry within the so called advanced nations know very well that so much opportunity still exists through productivity improvement and waste reduction.

Thankfully that opportunity is still there for us to realise. I’d be really interested in hearing the view from my network with regards to the fact that, after decades of practising lean methodologies, there is still such a gap between where we could be and where we are. How can we as a nation take things to the next level and use these methodologies to close that gap once and for all? The time may have come for us to accept the use of a global supply chain is not necessary and is not only harmful to the environment but leaves us all exposed to other risks too.