We might have crested the tide of COVID-19 that’s taken over 116,000 lives (count yesterday), across the U.S., but we’re far from out of the forests. An insidious issue continues to endanger our capacity to combat potential pandemics.
I am talking about America’s sluggish and archaic supply chain.
At the height of the epidemic in March and April, nurses in New York were working without adequate personal protective equipment, while California warehouses edged with supplies – and masked production lines in Fort Worth unscathed.
The Department of Health and Human Services sent ventilators to Florida, while the Northeast desperately needed them.
The problem was not a lack of equipment.
America had a lot of equipment. But we had no idea where it was located – or how to get supplies where they needed to be. As a result, we missed the opportunity to slow down the outbreak and protect patients and our first responders. Life was lying waste due to inefficiency of the supply chain.
Dr., executive director of the Marshall Center for Global Supply Chain Management at the University of Southern California. “The lack of information transparency is the biggest obstacle to the global supply chain,” said Nick Vyas. “It costs us billions of dollars every year and greatly affects the environment.”
Also read: Top 6 ways to Achieve supply Chain Sustainability
I have been investing in people who carry goods around the world for almost 30 years.
Carrying merchandise around the world is a complex ballet that has sex appeal for most people, as is commonly discussed on fertilizer brands. Why is this? The best way I can explain this to you is that by now, a breakdown in the supply chain means that your plaid shirt arrived a week late. Now, the breakdown of this complex system may mean, unfortunately, that your Uncle Harry died.
America’s supply chain is the nervous system of our economy.
Currently, the distribution chain of our state is a chaotic jumble of competing businesses talking within their peculiar codes. There are no data standards, shared terminology, or transparency among consumers.
It’d be like we requested a hundred crisis responders to operate together in a disaster scene, but nobody used the exact same radiofrequency.
Guess how that could turn out?
We lead the world from the technological capacity to monitor goods and put them in the ideal hands — a procedure named Geospatial Intelligence. We all desire is congressional willpower to streamline the information.
There are five steps to streamline the data to track goods.
- First — The United States needs to establish a secure “data highway,” so that users can see where things are, and how they’re moving through the system.
- Second — Congress needs to adopt data standards so everyone in the supply chain speaks the same language.
- Third — Our country needs to mandate registration of certain critical assets, so we can reposition them quickly in a crisis.
- Fourth — We must develop a tracking system to identify where new outbreaks or crises occur.
- Fifth — We need to utilize technology to measure and track how things are moving within the system so as to minimize impedances and to maximize flow.
Streamlining the supply chain requires a coordinated effort among businesses as well as at the federal level.
Consider how the airlines function. There are criteria and a frequent language that permits every provider to find that the whole system in real time.
Supply chain modernization are nowhere near as expensive or need as much congressional resolve. Still, the outcomes would provide huge benefits to our nation, particularly in times of tragedy. Ambivalence, instead of resistance, has become a crucial impediment to modernization until today.
Also read: Future of Supply Chains in 2025
We have to have sufficient guts to modify our ambivalence.
With no user friendly data highway and regular advice protocols, we’re doomed to a replica of the chaos and needless suffering we experienced throughout the COVID-19 catastrophe.
China understands this is a weakness of ours — as do a number of other nations.
If you’re working at the supply chain business — it is possible to see that China is working hard, and fast, to launch their very own information highway for the rest of us to utilize.
Also read: What is A Network-Based Supply Chain Platform?
Have not we heard that information is electricity? Haven’t we noticed that other nations need to control that power and us?
If Congress does not function for U.S. businesses to embrace a common, universal program, we’ll eliminate information transparency, and we are going to hand more control to all those system builders whose motives could be self explanatory.
Until today, our distribution chain was taken for granted. The pandemic has shown the folly of the indifference.
Supply chain modernization might not seem like a hot subject, but it becomes fairly vital pretty quickly when lives are at stake. Let us work together now to innovate the distribution chain learning from replicating the tragedy we have just seen.