Professor ManMohan Sodhi discusses globalisation in prestigious Gresham College public lecture

Leading supply chain expert is the first academic to bring a supply chain perspective in this public lecture series in half a millennium.

Professor ManMohan Sodhi has become the first academic to present a supply chain perspective on globalisation in the 500 years of public lectures at the prestigious Gresham College for the City of London.

Professor Sodhi, a world-renowned supply chain expert at Bayes Business School, spoke about the future of globalisation considering how the conflict in Ukraine and other events, including Brexit, led asset managers BlackRock and others to declare the end of globalisation.

The lecture spanned such diverse topics as the growing perception of “strategic rivalry” between the US (and perhaps the west in general) with China – “the world’s factory”; Covid-19, which jammed up global supply chains and continues to do so; and the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the consequent “economic war” by the west on Russia.

Also discussed were the troubles of globalisation tied to supply chain by various factors including its carbon footprint and modern slavery in addition to growing inequalities within and between countries.

ManMohan Sodhi Professor Sodhi concluded while there are benefits of globalisation it also has costs and risks. He said the calls for de-globalisation are really about de-risking, and the paradox is that de-risking global supply chains will make them even more global.

We will globalise even further,” said Professor Sodhi. “Whether we are talking of greater efficiency or lower risk through reduced dependency on Country A or B.”

In concluding, he felt that “companies would figure out how to continue getting the benefits of globalisation by achieving more efficient, global supply chains with, hopefully, less risk”. His message to governments was “it is up to governments worldwide to help these companies and figure out how to reduce the costs of globalisation. Any government will need to (1) lower barriers to trade with geopolitical and digital solutions, (2) develop an industrial policy for development and robustness, (3) require companies to report more, especially on the attainment of UNSDG goals, and (4) support SMEs, particularly in critical sectors to increase (mild)self-sufficiency and thus de-risk the economy as well.”

Gresham College has been running free public lectures for the City of London since 1597, and recent speakers have included notable academics and scientists, including Sir Roger Penrose and Professor Chris Whitty.

Professor Sodhi’s full talk, titled ‘Where is globalization headed? A supply chain view’ can be viewed here.

Professor Sodhi, Professor in Operations and Supply Chain Management at Bayes, said:

It was quite a pleasure to present a Gresham Lecture. The new globalisation will require digital technologies in making global supply chains more efficient, with fewer sustainability problems, and less exposure to risk. For this reason, Bayes has introduced the new MSc in Digital Supply Chain Management.”

For more information on the new MSc in Digital Supply Chain Management, see the Bayes website.


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