This past January, the White House announced a renewed focus on the global supply chain, outlining steps the administration intends to take to help secure supply chain systems and protect the interlinked, worldwide economies that depend upon them. Specifically mentioned were the threats of pandemics, natural disasters and terrorist attacks that have more recently plagued the global supply chain and highlighted the weaknesses within it. 2011 was an especially difficult year, as several sourcing, manufacturing and exporting destinations were beset by flooding, earthquakes, tsunamis and political unrest. At a time when businesses are identifying ways to shore up their own weaknesses, the United States government is working to stabilize supply chain systems.
From the White House’s blog:
“At a time when budgets are constrained, we will seek to develop smarter solutions and new efficiencies by enhancing our information sharing procedures and capabilities, synchronizing standards and procedures, prioritizing and aligning activities according to risk management principles, and leveraging the expertise and resources of industry and foreign partners in pursuit of our shared interests.“
While the U.S. government monitors potential supply chain problems at a more macro level, businesses are addressing their own internal concerns through better supply chain management. It’s the “black swan” events of the supply chain that keep executives up at night, and though predicting the next natural disaster or political uprising can be dicey at best, companies can identify new sourcing, manufacturing or transportation methods to rely on as alternates for when disaster strikes. Coupled with better managed data available through deployment of supply chain management software solutions, such as warehouse management or transportation management, businesses have options available to them to streamline processes and implement backup plans before disaster strikes again. If 2011 taught the worldwide supply chain anything, it’s that the ability to quickly adapt to the unexpected makes all the difference.