Friday, November 04, 2011

What are you saying HSBC?

I just opened up The Economist after lunch to find a strange ad with the headline "In the future, the food chain and the supply chain will merge" by HSBC a.k.a the Hong Kong Savings Bank Corp.  The ad goes on to say "HSBC is one of the world's leading supply chain organizations." WHAT????  Did I miss HSBC in the latest AMR/Gartner Top 50 supply chains?  I am not quite sure, which statement is more perplexing.

First, the food supply chain and the supply chain are one already.  Cargo ships and cargo planes carrying electronics, paper goods and food all use the same ports, trucks and planes.  There is only one global supply chain.  And unless they are printing money at HSBC, I fail to understand how they claim to be "one of the world's leading supply chain organizations".

In digging deeper on the HSBC website they talk about "trade and supply chain":

As one of the largest trade and supply chain organisations in the world, we have local trade experts available to support you wherever you do your business. We can help put you in control of your operations and assist you to streamline your trade processes with our advanced technology. Our aim is to ensure that your import and export transactions are managed effortlessly and effectively, providing your business with the best possible opportunities to grow.

Okay, so you may have a few experts that can get a box through customs, that is only a step of the supply chain.

And then comes the real kicker, they show all of the awards they have won, which are about "trade finance" and "finance provider".  Sorry, but being the cash behind the supply chain, while valuable, doesn't make anyone an expert in the end to end supply chain, from sourcing to end of life.

Are you going to help with my C-TPAT compliance?  Will you help me find the best logistics provider in Namibia? Or make sure my suppliers are meeting ethical standards?  I'm not so sure.  When I need a loan, we know who to call.


Ben Benjabutr said...

Good point Chris! Supply Chain has become a buzzword in banking industry already. Inside nutshell,these banking companies just offer letter of credit/remittance services and other kind of short term loan like export bill factoring.

Kaity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kaity said...

That is awfully bold of HSBC to make such a claim. I am just as perplexed as you are Chris. I'm pretty sure that food supply chains have been synchronized for quite some time now. If they weren't a lot of restaurants would be out of business. If anything, food supply chains need to do it quicker and safer than the rest of the herd (no pun intended).