Getting the most out of a global footprint

Published: 21 May 2015

Throughout the 1990’s we saw a surge in mergers and acquisitions, therefore a number of businesses were achieving immediate global status. In addition to this, the rise in the use of E-commerce has also enabled many companies; including SME’s to gain instant global access and status.

It has been suggested that companies have struggled to provide other countries or locations in which they operate with the level of attention and support that is required.  In addition to this companies have previously opened overseas office locations, in order to purely compete with their competitors and keep up with a rise in customer demand, in certain geographical areas. Are these ‘global organisations’ gaining true competitive advantage?

Rather than looking purely to headquarters for innovation and best practice, should companies be taking advantage of their global footprint and looking to their overseas markets and asking; what can be learnt from these countries?  Instead of overseas markets being an afterthought, they should be given more attention and the ability to contribute to overall strategy. Surely this could go some way in truly gaining competitive advantage? 

In addition to increased innovation and best practice, operating on a ‘truly’ global platform could make an organisation appear more marketable to potential talent. We see many self-marketed global organisations are filled with board members, who have been promoted from within and have limited international representation. Unfortunately, ambitious employees will move to organisations where they have board level opportunities, rather than work with one that has a glass ceiling. In addition to this, employees who work for organisations who are seen to be seeking entrepreneurship and local knowledge are likely to be far more motivated to succeed and contribute to the growth of the business.

Organisations very often take pleasure or feel secure in knowing they operate on a global basis, however to truly gain competitive advantage they need to ensure they are learning from their worldwide presence. It is well known that truly “multi-national” organisations are seen as more sustainable and if operations are spread globally you can gain more leverage and operate with more synergy.  In addition to this decentralised operations offer flexible, low cost supply chains.

In the current and competitive talent market, many such organisations are increasingly finding it tough to appoint the required, high calibre individuals.  Berwick Partners leads the way in recruiting senior leadership positions across both the Private and Public sectors regionally, nationally and internationally.  We support organisations in making key appointments, which have a vitally important critical impact upon their business.

Leanne Wilson is a specialist recruiter in the Berwick Partners’ Supply Chain & Procurement Practice

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