As we are wrapping up this globalEDGE blog series of “top trends,” we thought there’d be no better way to finish then with a custom-made list talking about top global business trends as seen by us here at globalEDGE. The list is in no particular order (i.e. trend number 1 is no more prevalent then trend number 5), but we feel that all of these trends are making themselves known in the international marketplace now. Here’s the list!
1. Increased efficiency along the supply chain: Not too long ago, globalEDGE made a blog series where we talked about “fast fashion” and how fashion retailers are dependent upon getting their inventories to market a quickly as possible. We would theorize that once other industries start seeing how profitable the fashion industry is because of its quicker supply chain that the quicker supply chain will spread to other industries.
2. The reduction of the state: Another major trend that will impact every area of the economy is the consensus for the size and reach of the government (state) to shrink. Evidence of this trend is seen in America (with the rise of the Tea Party- an anti-big-government political group), Britain (the election of the David Cameron led Tories), and the Middle East (with the unrest to overthrow the current governments in place). Another large driver behind this trend is the fact that many governments are facing budget crises and need to cut spending. Several governments –most notably Ireland and Greece- have already declared bankruptcy. With the impact of government being reduced, the private sector will be in charge of serving consumers for their needs that used to be addressed via the state (i.e. healthcare, insurance, etc.). Interestingly enough, governments will play an increasingly prominent role in the private sector as demand for greater regulation and increasing fiscal pressures dominate the agenda.
3. Technology: This isn’t a new trend by any means, but improved technology usage will continue to shape how the world does business. With cloud computing on the rise, companies are now able to share documents and collaboratively interact on them without even having to be in the same country. Meetings are now able to be conducted via cameras and telephones without transportation being a necessity anymore. Tablets and smartphones are growing at historic rates. All of these technological improvements seem to be centered on increased mobility: consumers are demanding the ability to work or play whenever they want, wherever they want. Technology of the future will also be driven by emerging-market innovations.
4. Diversification and integration of the global marketplace: As the global marketplace becomes more connected and emerging economies become more prominent, consumer tastes are changing and the borders between countries are becoming less and less restricting. All businesses must operate not as a “national-based” business, but rather as an international, global business. Leaders will also need to address the needs and aspirations of an increasingly diverse 21st century workforce.
5. More environmentally friendly products: While this is by no means a new trend; consumers are still becoming increasingly more aware of their impact on the world around them and how to improve it. One great example of this is in the automotive sector where GM is releasing the Chevy Volt and Tesla is trying to create the world’s first all-electric supercar. With the recent nuclear disaster in Japan, expect to see wind and solar power grow even more as alternative energy sources. Climate change will remain high on the agenda as companies seek to explore resource efficiency to improve the bottom line and drive competitive advantage.