The global footprint of a company – the structure, the interaction and the control of internationally distributed locations – is crucial for long-term competitiveness, efficiency and crisis resistance. The best-possible configuration of these production and development networks makes high demands on corporate governance, in particular with regard to the technological, organisational, legal and cultural dimensions.
Especially in the manufacturing industry, globalization, decreasing depth of value creation, growing customer proximity and intensive cross-company cooperation have created complex maps. This applies to the international production, development and distribution locations of multinational corporations as well as to medium-sized companies. These networks, often created historically or as a result of takeovers and mergers, are rarely optimally aligned with the company's strategy.
Not only the extremely complex long-term planning, but also the need for country-specific knowledge, diverse conditions, high investment and the complicated balancing of central and local interests make changes in the footprint a sensitive subject. Consistent change management and the involvement of regional stakeholders are needed, as is strong and globally accepted project management during the design and implementation phase. There are many aspects that need clarification in the context of footprint projects. These include:
- The number and location of sites, as well as optimal use of high- and low-wage countries
- Comprehensive, multidisciplinary trend and risk monitoring
- Proper distribution of development and production content
- Reduction of the currency impact
- Resilience to protectionist efforts
- International leadership and development of global governance
- Balance between centralised and decentralised responsibilities and competences