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ASCM Insights

Supply Chains Can — and Must — Surmount Global Shortages


It’s really starting to feel like there’s some new product shortage every single day. Just this week, publishers warned that there will be significantly fewer printed books on store shelves in the coming months because of ongoing lumber issues and a lack of paper mill workers. In the United Kingdom, climbing gas prices are shutting down carbon dioxide manufacturers, causing serious concern for beverage producers and the meat industry, as CO2 is used to stun livestock before slaughter. And, of course, ports across the planet are short of shipping containers and people to unload them. Supply deficiencies are becoming the norm, and many experts say we should just get used to it.  

Well, I believe they are wrong. Here at ASCM, we know that supply chains have the power to innovate, collaborate and transform in order to find productive, sustainable solutions. This week, I was inspired by news from General Motors, which has been struggling to find semiconductor chips. CEO Mary Barra said in a live-streamed discussion that the company will make “substantial shifts” in its supply chain to solve its chip problem. Primarily, the company is establishing relationships with chip manufacturers in order to buy chips directly, streamline its supply chain and achieve a workable strategy for the future.

Barra admitted that this approach will not address the problem overnight, but it should move the company in the right direction for more effective sourcing. Forging direct relationships with chip suppliers is a smart move — especially because counterfeit chips are increasingly hitting the market. Many electronics manufacturers have received these phony chips from their suppliers. Others are taking what are known as “chips-in-distribution shortcuts.” This involves buying from parties other than authorized distributors and manufacturers, who sell subpar chips that are often stripped from discarded electronics.  

More complex puzzles need more solvers

Right now, it’s absolutely critical for supply chain professionals to collaborate, cooperate and connect. ASCM has the perfect opportunity in this year’s all-virtual ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference. The premier event in supply chain education will digitally bring together some of the greatest industry minds from all around the world.

This year’s conference features more than 50 educational sessions covering the most critical topics, including intelligent supply, synchronized planning, resilience, digital supply chain and much more. Speakers represent Bristol Myers-Squibb, Clorox, DHL, Dell, Gartner, GE Appliances, Kraft Heinz Company, Johnson & Johnson and Sysco Corporation — just to highlight a few.

Attendees can participate in interactive discussions during virtual roundtables, facilitated activities and Connection Cafés. In addition, our brand-new event platform promises maximum audience engagement via one-on-one chats with thought leaders, exhibitors and other learners, as well as many opportunities for fun and networking. The registration rate increases on October 1, so join us today and save.

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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