The Supply Chain Economy determines the extent companies can feasibly create new products that lead to greater innovation and output. This source of innovation is often ignored in traditional innovation measurements that are based on patent filings. According to a paper in a working paper by Mercedes Delgado and Karen G. Mills from MIT and the Harvard School of Business by changing the framework that focuses on the suppliers of goods and services that support business and government we can realize new levels of innovation by providing access to labor, buyers and capital (Mills & Delgado, 2018).
Re-categorizing the economy to supply chain from business-to-consumers a different picture of innovation emerges. Supply chain industries are unique form of development that results in economic competitiveness and high paying job growth in a sector that employees 37% of the labor market (Delgado & Mills, 2016).
Why might this be important? Government numbers are often outdated and overlook important sources of new development. When thinking of economic clusters, the supply chain becomes an essential part of how these industries share services and resources. Categorizing them appropriately leads to new ways of seeing and enhancing real value that turns into economic growth.
Appropriately measuring the supply chain leads to policy improvements that includes giving them greater access to labor, buyers and capital:
-Labor: Supply chain traded services earn more income and rely more heavily on STEM knowledge than business-to-consumer traded services. As companies work together they lead to greater development of a stronger talent pool.
-Access to Buyers: Clustering businesses together creates strong buyer-supplier networks that can lead to mutual development. Creating collaboration between industries, government and supportive institutions (i.e. higher education) can transform into regional development.
-Access to Capital: Ensuring that companies have access to financial capital to reduce shocks and speed up development can lead to growth. The same methodology may be applied to other forms of capital needed by other industries within the cluster.
The authors indicated that partnerships with government, business, and other stakeholders leads to greater innovation, growth, and higher paying jobs. The changing of the metrics opens up a new paradigm to see the benefits of developing the supply chain network for advance manufacturing and growth. Continuous adjustment and development creates a more competitive environment where cutting edge products and services penetrate global markets.
What the authors did not specifically state is that by creating a more competitive environment that improves the innovative capacity of many businesses, it will make a difference in profit margins and manufacturing capacity within the U.S. While low-cost labor input countries are limited on technology, the U.S. may be able to draw back manufacturing with better manufacturing environment that makes new manufacturing industries profitable again. Such viewpoints should be part of the government tools to regenerate a leading production economy.
Delgado, M. & Mills, K. (2018). The Supply Chain Economy: A New Framework for Understanding Innovation and Services. Harvard Business School. Retrieved http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/18-071_b7268529-3131-4053-9e4c-5b06c3e86e81.pdf
Delgado, M. & Mills, K. (2016). A New Categorization of the U.S. Economy: The Role of Supply Chain Industries in Performance. Harvard Business School. http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/Paper_SupplyChain_MD_KM_05-23-2016_ac3f26a0-6022-4bf0-a719-39a6b4b4450e.pdf