Over the last 150 years, numerous fundamental changes have taken place in the manufacturing industry. In the early stages of industrialisation, production was for the most part locally embedded, being for example dependent on the availability of hydro-power or other local conditions. As a result, production was mainly geared towards supplying local markets. Soon, however, commercial relations developed between companies across regional and international boundaries. This development eventually led to an on-going internationalisation of companies. By establishing foreign manufacturing sites, companies avoided trade barriers such as customs duties and could benefit from lower transport and labour costs. Towards the end of the last millennium, global supply interconnections developed, caused by innovations in the ICT and transport sectors, and by companies’ increasing readiness to outsource production and value-chain stages. Bilateral and international trade agreements between the governments of different national economies, simplifying the development towards globalised production, have also been major drivers of this change.
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