What’s the SCOOP – Thoughts for the C-Suite #8 of 8 – Citizen EMS
There are many definitions of ‘citizenship’, but the one I like for its simplicity is “a participatory member of a community.” This is where I am going with the idea of Citizen EMS, an EMS that takes their citizenship seriously, and hence participation, in the community, or communities, in which they operate.
Many of the largest EMS companies are citizens of numerous communities, having upwards of 100 facilities in numerous countries. Those that do citizenship well have managed to navigate the complexities of politics to ensure they are doing the right thing wherever possible in each of the communities they participate in. It is not enough to just arrive in a country with a view to making the most of specific advantages, such as low cost labor, or minimal regulation, without putting something back.
It is also essential to recognize what it means to be a global citizen in the context of an EMS that exists on the global, or at least international, stage. Sometimes, that might mean withdrawing from a particular state when things are not as they should be. Several global brands were quick to distance themselves from Russia, following their invasion of the Ukraine, many of them at huge cost as they closed facilities and withdrew from a lucrative market. This is not the only geopolitical act to impact where goods are manufactured and it won’t be in the future. EMS geographies are often and increasingly subject to geopolitical activity.
Citizenship also means understanding the political and cultural changes occuring in the communities operated in. I know I’ve talked at length about sustainability and the environmental impact of manufacturing, but the mood of consumers (aka citizens) in many countries is reflecting major concern over climate change and real desire to make changes. As a corporate citizen it is important to reflect this. First and foremost, because it is the right thing to do, but also because it makes commercial sense to reflect the mood of those that will eventually decide who wins the manufacturing business. As previously mentioned in my “brand on brand” and “sustainable solutions” blogs, I believe consumers will hold sway in not only the brands that they buy from, but also the brands in the supply chains that fulfill their products.
The EMS industry is not, and never should be, about exploitation, be that of lower labor rates, tax breaks, or different regulatory environments. The EMS industry is about providing brands with partners that can manage a supply chain that reflects their own goals, cultures and ideals, as well as those of their customers.
Good citizens are respectful, honest, loyal and have a strong sense of community. They are part of the fabric of the society in which they exist. EMS companies are as much citizens as the citizens they employ, and it is essential they act as such.
These blogs are also available in audio form on the “EMS@C-Level” podcast, wherever you get your podcast or at https://emsatc.buzzsprout.com