While many in the West fret over the challenge of "rebalancing" the global economy after the recent global financial crisis, several trends suggest that the field of supply chain management could offer a key advantage for an America eager to double its exports by 2014. On the surface, supply chain management might not sound too sexy, but understand this: In today's globalization, neither companies nor countries compete -- supply chains do. Companies like Wal-Mart have known this for some time. Thus, positioning America to be the world's pre-eminent provider of secure, transparent and efficient supply chains will ensure that our economy masters globalization's competitive landscape in the fullest sense.
First, the world is undergoing an unprecedented global infrastructure build-out, thanks to globalization's still-rapid advance. Going forward, emerging and frontier economies in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia will outspend the West by almost two-thirds on future water, electricity and transportation infrastructure. With all that construction -- roughly $40 trillion by 2030 -- global supply chains will be further extended and dramatically expanded in their throughput capacity.