Events like pandemics and severe weather have the potential to create major disruptions in the nation's supply chains.
Following the pandemic’s exposure of major cracks in the nation’s supply chains, the Consumer Brands Association (CBA) and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), together with researchers from Iowa State University, have issued a report offering policy recommendations to bolster private-sector supply chains. The study calls for the establishment of a national Office of Supply Chain to provide expertise, facilitate coordination across the federal government and encourage collaboration with the private sector.
“U.S. Supply Chain Priorities: The Case for a Federal Office of Supply Chain” contains a roadmap for policymakers to improve supply-chain competitiveness and resiliency, in place of what CBA describes as “the current disjointed system.” The report features input from 25 supply chain thought leaders, as well as government and NGO research.
“The pandemic displayed just how fragile and essential supply chains are, especially for vulnerable populations where access, affordability and availability are paramount,” noted Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of Arlington, Virginia-based CBA. “Supply chains deliver for millions of consumers every day, yet they don’t receive the necessary coordinated attention from our policymakers. Greater federal leadership on supply-chain policy will lead to a stronger economic recovery, growth and stability for future crises.”
Another strain on private-sector supply chains is severe weather, like that seen recently in Texas. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the best way to get supplies to a disaster-impacted area is by quickly re-establishing pre-disaster supply chains.
The new CBA report proposes various policy recommendations to bolster this response, among them the creation of a White House Office of Supply Chain to more effectively coordinate and integrate supply-chain policies and liaise with the private sector; reforming immigration policies to create a talent pipeline; developing new funding mechanisms to meet the long-term needs of freight transportation; and establishing a framework to accommodate quickly emerging innovative vehicle technologies. A bill was recently introduced in the House of Representatives to establish such an office to address lingering concerns relating to COVID-19.
“Between COVID-19, winter storms and more, there’s mounting awareness that we need to take action to shore up our supply chains,” affirmed Tom Madrecki, CBA’s VP of supply chain and logistics. “Strategic policymaking and strong government leadership is a critical piece of that. Consumer Brands looks forward to working with all partners ... to get America’s supply chains on the right track.”
“Well-intentioned policy efforts are currently hindered by the disjointed nature of government and the lack of an overarching national strategy,” said Chris Adderton, VP of Lombard, Illinois-based CSCMP. “Our report identifies dozens of opportunities for government to help improve the tremendous complexity and interconnected nature of modern supply chains.”
CBA represents more than 1,900 brands, from household and personal care to food and beverage products.