Escape the Low-Cost Trap & Enhance Value for Your Business: Crafting Your Vantage Point
Many discussions of raising national competitiveness take the "global factory" model as their starting point. This model essentially assumes that the primary way for less developed economies to catch up is to carry out low value-added activities within the global supply chain. The inevitable result is a frantic race to the bottom, where being competitive means being the lowest cost provider. This article proposes a markedly different approach based on the orchestration of an economy's "Vantage Point." Rather than cutting costs (and living standards), countries should instead focus on enhancing the value of the goods and services they naturally produce. Examples from Spain's Basque Country, Mexico and Colombia illustrate how intense collaboration and innovation in the production process -- even in the production of what may seem to be basic commodities -- can lead to a virtuous circle of value optimization and economic development.