Lessons From Borat's Supply Chain

I was rolling on the floor when I saw Borat last weekend. If you've not seen it yet, run -- don't walk -- to the nearest move theater to take in its comic and satirical splendor. But on a more important procurement and supply chain note, Borat also offers a glimpse at the infrastructure challenges in Eastern Europe (which mirror those in rural India, among other developing regions). Granted, Borat goes over board with it, but parts of the film were shot on location. The beginning and end of the flick were filmed a town in Romania whose name I heard literally translates to English as "mud". OK, funny enough. And, I doubt you'd really see a Trabby being pulled by a donkey. But in reality, the point is well taken. Despite cheap -- and often skilled -- factory labor in many countries throughout the old Soviet block, it can be very challenging to get products to the border and coasts for global export without getting stuck in the mud or eating up more in bribes than the cost of transport. Perhaps the global sourcing race -- at least when it comes to manufactured products -- will be won by those countries which invest most in infrastructure. So for benefit of glorious people of developing capitalist nation, remember that products border must get!

Jason Busch

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