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ASCM Insights

Observing the Interconnectedness of Our Most Pressing Issues


This past week at the 2022 ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference was an enlightening experience in countless ways. Perhaps the greatest discovery — which was underscored again and again — is the interconnectedness of supply chain’s key challenges, opportunities and trends.

For example, while interviewing H.R. McMaster, former U.S. National Security Advisor, and Gary Cohn, vice chair of IBM and former director of the U.S. National Economic Council, the three of us discussed the many ways in which today's networks are so profoundly intertwined.

“We often have a myopic focus on one set of problems,” McMaster told conference attendees. “We try to solve a discrete problem set and, in so doing, create another one.”

McMaster, Cohn and I investigated numerous topics affecting today’s supply chains, including the future of global trade; nearshoring, reshoring and onshoring; viable alternatives to oil and gas; sustainability; food security; infrastructure; the economy and inflation; and more. Both speakers agreed that these challenges are all interconnected and, therefore, must be solved in parallel.

The following day, keynote Dr. Mae Jemison, former NASA astronaut and the first woman of color in space, echoed this sentiment from a diversity, equity and inclusion perspective: “The world is too interconnected right now for us to think we can hide in our own little places,” she urged. “When you’re pushing beyond what you know, you need to take folks with you who understand some things you don’t. And you won’t find them where you’re hanging out most of the time. Get outside your safety zone.”

General Stephen Lyons of the White House Supply Chain Disruption Task Force also highlighted the dependencies that exist throughout today’s networks: “Supply chains are perhaps misnamed,” he suggested during his keynote. “If a chain is broken, you fix one link, and it’s fixed. But supply chains are actually more like webs, with many disparate, yet interconnected, entities and interests."

In addition to these keynote speeches and all of the insightful educational sessions, attendees enjoyed exploring the latest discoveries in the Innovation Labs. At one lab, representatives from KPMG presented the brand-new Supply Chain Stability Index, developed in Association with ASCM. As market volatility continues to be the norm for supply chains — and we repeatedly witness how a disruption in one place has a ripple effect through countless others — this tool will be essential for alleviating the strain.

Unsurprisingly, the Supply Chain Stability Index reveals that supply chain stress has more than doubled in the past two years. To enable our industry to push past this difficult time, machine learning and statistical models are providing exciting new insights into performance variability. Based on the most current data, the index will be periodically refreshed with indicators of stability for supply chains, offering organizations valuable perspective on how to perform amid volatility and how to identify both areas of supply chain resilience and those that require stabilization.   

Learn how the Supply Chain Stability Index can make your supply chain an impenetrable strand in our incredible, interconnected global supply web.


About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted at

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