When the author first wrote the Parallax View, the world was a different place. All the elements were building up to the world as we find it today, but the focus on business was elsewhere. Although post 9-11, most firms where unsure of the impact of global trade uncertainty and how this would affect their business models and practices. We have had five years to sort that out. The emergence of a new generation of business practices, technologies, and confirmation on the rise of the new middle class in several Asian nations (India, China, Vietnam, etc.), who are joining their sister Asian Tigers (Korea, Taiwan and Singapore), has now confirmed that Supply Chain Management expertise is the most critical process and skill set for corporations in this generation.
These nations are redefining the Axis of Trade. Where as the tigers were western centric—developing goods and services for the western customer/brands and concepts; the new game is manufacturing for the emerging market of Asia. New financial realities are driving the world.
Yet, the emerging markets are following a path understood by westerners who have trod it before—although in an earlier generation. The emergence of brand consciousness, desire for packaged goods— rather than open markets—are creating a process well understood by older developed economies. So, all this is not a mystery. But if you are under 65 you may not have witnessed this transformation in post WW II. What is new about this customer (and also in advanced markets) is the ability for choice, driven by the communications (both internet and cells)—societal awareness. The age of the customer, long talked about, but now actually becoming a process—end-to-end has become the focus on leading firms in many industries. Customer centricity models are emerging to try to understand and win in these varied demographically roiling market places.
On the macroeconomic front, what is profoundly different is that the base of raw material that drives the industrial explosion of the new Asia is no longer cheap. During the run-up to the industrialized West, the price of construction commodities — from metals, the fibers, to energy— was