Forbes’ New Columnist: The Right Stuff?

Michael Marks, currently manager of a private equity fund and former CEO and chairman of Flextronics, has joined Forbes as a columnist writing about global manufacturing, outsourcing and offshoring.

            Marks has extensive manufacturing experience, and in his introductory column, he outlined some of the broad beliefs that will form the foundation for his writing.

            While I am encouraged by several of them, at least one of them surprised me a bit.

            Marks describes himself as an optimist who supports globalization of the U.S. economy and adding an international perspective to boards of directors.

            No argument there. However, I am intrigued by another of his statements.


--outsourcing makes companies more efficient and is a requirement to compete effectively


            That comment might seem to be at odds with lean principles. Those of us who champion a lean strategy argue that you don’t have to outsource operations to be an effective competitor.

            On the other hand, it depends on what and how you are outsourcing. Simply saying you support outsourcing doesn’t necessarily make you anti-lean

            In addition, Flextronics has received praise for its support of a lean strategy, and Marks has been given much of the credit for that direction.

            The reason I care about what Marks writes is that Forbes is widely read and well-respected. A Forbes columnist can influence what business leaders think.

            I look forward to reading Marks’ future columns. He should have some interesting things to say.



Ralph Bernstein said...

9/17/2007 12:54:40 PM
Re: Forbes’ New Columnist: The Right Stuff?
By: rbohan

It's because manufacturers have a really, really hard time of getting away from the idea that a lower purchase price equals goodness for the business. Just like long runs, lots of inventory, high machine utilization, etc., etc. They can't help themselves. It's in their DNA.

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