The World is Flat

The World is Flat

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Thomas L. Friedman in his best-selling book in 2005 (with updates in 2006 and 2007), The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, argues that globalization has fundamentally changed the environment in which firms and even countries must compete. By “flat” he means that the playing field is essentially level; work that was once the province of one country can now easily be done in many places around the world. He notes that over 400,000 US tax returns were prepared in India in 2005 or that many companies in the United States have outsourced customer services to Ireland and India.

Other challenges in the business environment include technological changes, increasing use of the Internet to move information and conduct business (e-commerce), changing demographics in the workforce, global climate change, and increased litigation. Organizations must be aware of these trends and be sufficiently flexible to adapt to the changes, as and when required.

  • Friedman suggests that the world is “flat” because of automation and supply chain globalization. Do you agree with this? Why or why not?
  • Work that was once the province of one country can now easily be done in many places around the world. What challenges do you think this has thrown to the fundamental operations that get a product from a manufacturing plant and a warehouse to customers? Provide reasoning for your answer.
  • According to Friedman, at the most fundamental level, operations and supply management is about getting the day-to-day work done quickly, efficiently, without errors, and at low cost. How do you think companies can be sufficiently flexible to adapt their supply chain operations to technological changes?

In 2010, Iceland experienced an epic volcanic eruption. From a supply chain and operations management chain perspective, what were the implications for global supply chains? Should planning for future events like this impact the strategy of a company? Support your response with your research in APA format with cited sources.

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