Reconfiguring Supply Chains in a Challenging World

Insight China, established in 2001, is an international student project which aims to generate valuable insights into the most important contemporary issues relating to economic, social, and political relations between Switzerland and China for its partners and delegation and create an interactive and valuable study programme and materials. In 2019/20, the team seeks the collective exploration of reconfiguring supply chains in a challenging world. 2019/20 also marks the 25thanniversary of our university’s China activities. Thus, Insight China will play an active role in the celebrations throughout the year.

Supply Chain encompasses a company’s activities, resources, and organization with its goal of creating, buying, and selling goods/services. It commonly starts with the planning and ends with the distribution of the product to the customers. Expertise in supply chain management is vital for the configuration of a suitable process. It includes financial forecasting, cohesive logistics, and the creation of a successful business strategy. The avoidance of the mentioned aspects would create a weak supply chain; generating delays, lower product quality, financial losses, and more.

However, with the on-going conflicts around the uses of trade and technology between the two economic giants, China and the United States of America, the global economic environment is challenged. Higher tariffs on products lead to increasing costs for importers, while the US demands that its companies and those of its international partners boycott key Chinese suppliers. These are amongst the forces demanding the reconsideration and the reconfiguration of the supply chain processes in China, Asia, and overseas.

According to a survey by Baker McKenzie reported in the South China Morning Post, 82 % of 600 Asia pacific MNCs are changing their supply chains to counter the trade war, along with 93 % of Chinese companies (23 April 2019). Possible measures included investment in diverse places or cutting on expenses. In some cases, the risks are alarmingly high that termination of Chinese production sites or the relocation to Southeast Asian countries is being considered or already practiced. With this current state, companies should realize the need for flexibility in their supply chains and logical reaction to environmental changes. This becomes more crucial, as no country’s economy can be fully predicted.

With this year’s topic, Insight China and experts from Switzerland and China will investigate what an effective response to the new business environment might be for a company’s supply chain and its surroundings. You, as a partner, will have the chance to benefit from updated know-how as well as to contribute to this unique student project. We would be honoured to greet you as a partner and create a mutually beneficial platform.

Your INSIGHT CHINA Team 2020