A second business model takes an equally contrarian approach to production. John Hagel and John Seely Brown, who run Deloitte's Centre for Edge Innovation, argue that Western companies have spent the past century perfecting "push" models of production that allocate resources to areas of expected demand. But in emerging markets, particularly those where the Chinese have a strong influence, a very different "pull" model often prevails, designed to help companies mobilise resources when the need arises. Hong Kong's Li & Fung or China's Chingquing Lifan Group can use their huge supply chains to produce fashion items or motorcycles in response to demand. Taiwan's Quanta and Compel can produce cheap computers and digital cameras for a fashion-conscious digital marketplace.
These pull models fundamentally change the nature of companies. Instead of fixed armies looking for opportunities, firms become loose networks that are forever reconfiguring themselves in response to a rapidly shifting landscape. Such models are not peculiar to emerging markets: Dell builds computers to its Western customers' specifications, and Western management gurus have been advocating networks for decades. But according to Messrs Hagel and Seely Brown they are far more widespread in emerging countries.
The Economist: Business Models shifting from Push to Pull
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