EHS and the Transforming Global Supply Chain

Risk Compliance & Business Continuity
Oct 19, 2020 8:35 AM ET

Two decades ago, a tiny snowball started rolling. The sprawl of the American manufacturing industry was beginning to be lured to foreign shores in what would become one of the greatest waves of offshoring in modern history.

Now, supply chain dynamics are transforming again as global disruption sets in. What does this mean for EHS managers and their strategic planning as we move forward?

The Rush Towards Cost-Savings Nirvana

On the surface, it was a tempting notion. Cheaper labor, more efficient manufacturing, even looser environmental regulations — it was hard for an American company looking for an edge to turn down the offshore opportunities in countries like China, Vietnam and Indonesia. Manufacturers were able to reinvent their supply chains with cost-cutting measures while enjoying the revenue of the American market.

What began as a trend quickly became a sweeping movement. Offshoring became the standard — a cost-savings maneuver that businesses owed to their shareholders. And it worked. Consequences were theoretical and distant. Profit was actual and immediate. Companies choosing to maintain traditional domestic manufacturing facilities found themselves at a significant competitive disadvantage.

U.S. regulations facilitated the normalizing of the offshore movement, notably the 2001 Bush Administration's decision to grant permanent normal trading relations with China. As the rapid rush towards operational efficiency took its toll on America's job market, some companies began to notice the risks. EHS professionals found themselves with little direct control over manufacturing. All-important supply chains were at the whims of foreign politics and corruption. Labor issues were far beyond the reach of control. The dream began to show its seams, but still it held. Until now.

The Return of the Domestic Supply Chain

In recent years, two dramatic shifts have caused businesses to reel in their supply chains, "onshoring" or “reshoring” them back to the U.S....Read the Full Blog on Antea Group's Website

About Antea Group

Antea Group is an international engineering and environmental consulting firm specializing in full-service solutions in the fields of environment, infrastructure, urban planning, and water. By combining strategic thinking and multidisciplinary perspectives with technical expertise and pragmatic action, we do more than effectively solve client challenges; we deliver sustainable results for a better future. We serve clients ranging from global energy companies and manufacturers to national governments and local municipalities. Learn more at