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Simple logic says we may have a complex problem on the way.

By Steve Geary | 12/09/2017 | 4:58 PM

We spend a lot of time doing supply chain analysis, identifying key indicators, and then developing plans based on the picture those indicators paint.

Consider, as of December 9:

  • For the first time in over a decade, the US Navy has seven of its eleven aircraft carrier fleets at sea.
  • Of the seven, five are in the Pacific.
  • Of the five in the Pacific, three are in the Western Pacific.
  • Korea sits between the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan, which are in the Western Pacific.
  • The three in the Western Pacific are fully staffed, fully equipped, and combat ready.
  • The carriers in the Western Pacific have full air wings, including F-35’s, and combat ready carrier escorts.

Forget the talking heads on the evening news. Instead of listening to what they are saying, look at what the Navy is doing.  Read a map.  Apply some simple logic.

Readiness is everything in the military.  It sure looks like the logisticians have the pieces in place to go into battle with North Korea.  That’s what a military logistician means when talking about readiness.  And there are four other carrier groups in place around the world in the event that somebody else – the names Putin and Erdoğan come to mind – sense an opportunity for mischief.

Are commercial logisticians also ready if the curtain goes up?  Many of us rely on logistics connections with China, or elsewhere in Southeast Asia.  Do you have a contingency plan if things take a nasty turn?

Sometimes life is about having Plan B ready to go.  Look across your supply chain, one, two, even three tiers way.  Look back to your suppliers, and forward to your customers.  Check out your safety stock levels, your alternate sources of supply, and your backlogs.

Are you vulnerable?

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About Steve Geary

Steve Geary

Steve Geary is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Tennessee's College of Business Administration, and is on the faculty at The Gordon Institute at Tufts University, where he teaches supply chain management. He is the President of the Supply Chain Visions family of companies, and Chief Operating Officer at ROSE Solutions, consultancies that work across the government sector. Steve is a contributing editor at DC Velocity, and editor-at-large for CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly. He is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, and Who's Who in Executives and Professionals. In November of 2007, Steve was recognized for "Selfless Service to Our Nation and the People of Iraq" by the Deputy Secretary of Defense.


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