TransSystems--In normal times, the humdrum business of shifting widgets from one location to another gets very little attention outside the supply chain management fraternity.

But these are not normal times. Japan's terrible earthquake has raised questions about the vulnerability of global supply chains to disruption caused by natural disasters. In China, rising wages have prompted suggestions that manufacturers might shift capacity to other low cost locations, or even back to the west.

Both these issues are encouraging manufacturers to review their sourcing and supply strategies. But the focus on dealing with the immediate pain is obscuring a much bigger challenge for multinationals: whether the whole concept of globalised supply chains is being outmoded by the rise of new centres of demand in Asia and Latin America that might be best served by a return to regional sourcing and production. Read more!