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ASCM Insights

Prioritizing Supply Chain for a Stronger Nation

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The Biden administration has completed its 100-day comprehensive review of semiconductor, high-capacity battery, pharmaceutical and critical minerals supply chains. The 250-page report details the supply chain risks in each area and makes both industry-specific and cross-functional recommendations to address U.S. vulnerabilities — those related to disruption, such as COVID-19, and America’s reliance on international suppliers.

One of the key strategies emerging from the review is the creation of a taskforce to address near-term supply chain bottlenecks that inhibit economic recovery. The new team will be led by Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. According to Bloomberg, they will focus on supply-demand mismatches in industries such as high-tech, construction and homebuilding, transportation, and food and agriculture.

In recent months, ongoing disruption in these industries has caused price increases, scarcity and long delivery times. Although the White House says they expect the current bottlenecks to be temporary, the administration is using “all the tools at its disposal to minimize the impacts on workers, consumers, families and businesses.”

The process is already in motion. On Tuesday, a rare bipartisan U.S. Senate passed the Innovation and Competition Act. This bill could provide as much as $52 billion to support domestic semiconductor manufacturing. But it doesn’t stop there: The act also aims to authorize $16.9 billion for the U.S. Department of Energy for research and development and energy-related supply chains in key technology areas, $81 billion for the National Science Foundation, and $10 billion for NASA’s human landing systems program.

The act now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives, where it “faces a competing bill and a somewhat murky future,” according to USA Today.

Many of the White House’s strategies may come across as isolationist — in particular, the “supply chain strike force” that will, according to Reuter’s, look for specific trade violations that contribute to a “hollowing out” of supply chains. However, a senior administration official told Yahoo! Money that the goal is not to produce everything in America; rather, it’s to boost domestic manufacturing and establish more diverse suppliers: “We don't want to be dependent on just one or two suppliers — and in particular, we want to make sure we are more reliant on like-minded allies and partners or supplies and comparatively less on geopolitical competitors.” 

What’s coming next?

Supply chains are all about collaboration; no business can achieve its goals alone. In today’s complex, digital ecosystem, the only way to run a truly optimized and sustainable network is by partnering to raise standards; integrate business operations; remove constraints; synchronize people, processes and data; and recalibrate global supply chains to reduce fragility and manage critical dependencies. This is what supply chain professionals do every day.

ASCM’s network of worldwide alliances and thought-leadership collaborations is fueling supply chain innovation, delivering groundbreaking products and services, and maximizing the connections made through membership. These multi-stakeholder partnerships enable us to address market needs through industry-leading education, products and training. Especially in difficult and often divisive times, they are a testament to the power of collaboration and a valuable illustration of how we can all work together to create a better world through supply chain.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer at ASCM, the largest nonprofit association for supply chain and the global leader in supply chain organizational transformation and innovation. Prior to this, he was the managing director for the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. His leadership roles have included project management, business process redesign, and individual and organizational alignment. Eshkenazi may be contacted through editorial@ascm.org.

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