America is facing a supply chain crisis. It is perplexing and frustrating that the White House and Congress are only a taking few (if any) steps to address the problem.
The United States has the ability to solve this crisis. Americans should not have to suffer due to an issue that can be fixed or, at the very least, ameliorated.
The first step in solving the crisis is to form a task force of supply chain experts to work on the problem. These individuals should come from supply chain-related industries (trucking, shipping, rail and air), logistics companies (UPS, FedEx, etc.), companies with advanced supply chains (Amazon, Walmart, etc.), large retailers, academics who focus on supply chain issues (business school professors, think tank leaders, etc.), and military leaders who focus on logistics.
Next, we must determine the steps in the supply chain system which are causing it to slow (often called "bottlenecks.") To do so, the task force must determine the steps in the process from docking the ships to moving the goods out of the port. It then needs to examine each of them.
It would be helpful to interview the groups involved in the supply chain to get their opinions on the crisis and how to fix it. They should interview the presidents of the companies individually to determine their concerns and also in a group setting so that they could discuss issues which affect or are dependent upon each other.
The task force should also talk to the workers at the ports and the truck drivers to get their perspective. These individuals deal with the supply chain on a daily basis, and they can have great insights.
The bottlenecks can be due to a myriad of causes such as inefficiencies in the system, a lack of equipment, decreased number of workers, etc.
Some argue that the supply chain crisis is due to pent-up demand from the coronavirus pandemic. One must analyze, however, if the number of ships/cargo containers is greater now than the number before the pandemic.
If pre-pandemic levels of supply at the ports was the same or greater than now and the supply chain was not at a crisis level at that time, then the current increased demand is likely not the determinative factor for the crisis.
After the task force determines the causes of the crisis, it can develop solutions for it. These may involve new procedures for docking ships and moving cargo, the use of different technologies, deploying air and rail assets to move cargo, alternative storage facilities for cargo containers, and greater coordination between companies involved in the supply chain.
It may also require the use of military assets and/or the implementation of the Defense Production Act. The government may also have to amend or suspend certain government regulations to allow for a more seamless movement of goods.
The supply chain experts on the task force will likely develop other innovations and procedures to address the problem.
After America fixes the supply chain crisis, it must learn from it. First, the U.S. imports a tremendous amount of goods, and it would be advantageous for our economy and job base if more manufacturing were done in the U.S.
Second, America should increase the production of pharmaceuticals and medical devices in this country because importing these items is a medical and national security risk. Third, if necessary, the U.S. should upgrade its ports with new technology.
Fourth, the country should consider the creation of new ports. America has a huge coastline, and it should not have two ports (Los Angeles and Santa Monica) accounting for 40% of shipping containers entering the United States.
Fifth, to the extent that a worker shortage is affecting the movement of goods, America should determine why workers left the workforce and how they can be coaxed back to work.
The United States should not merely accept the supply chain crisis as a fact of life. Americans are suffering from increased prices and a decreased quantity of goods, and companies are being hurt with decreased sales and increased expenditures.
The country must hold accountable President Biden as well as Republicans and Democrats in Congress to take steps to fix the supply chain crisis.
Michael B. Abramson is a practicing attorney. He is also an adviser with the National Diversity Coalition for Trump. He is the host of the "Advancing the Agenda" podcast and the author of "A Playbook for Taking Back America: Lessons from the 2012 Presidential Election." Follow him on his website and Twitter, @mbabramson. Read Michael B. Abramson's Reports — More Here.
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