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Speed Kills.  So does lettuce.

By Steve Geary | 05/07/2018 | 2:08 PM

Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) is complicated.   But sometimes, the complexity resolves down to a single event.  And that event can be tragic.

The supply chain for agricultural products in the United States is really complex.  Somehow, that integrated set of capabilities brings fresh lettuce from Yuma, Arizona to my home outside of Boston, Massachusetts.  The supply chain network has a lot of players running an interwoven network that moves fresh produce through echelons from coast to coast.

According to the Washington Post on May 2, “The nationwide food poisoning outbreak from E. coli-contaminated romaine lettuce has claimed its first fatality, an unidentified person in California, and the infections have sickened a total of 121 people in 25 states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday.”

That lettuce is believed to have come from the Yuma area.  There are no simple supply chains.  A head of lettuce may be simple, but the associated supply chain processes are complex.  That complexity brings risk and danger.  Just ask the family in California.

The Defense Acquisition University defines SCRM as “a systematic process for managing supply chain risk by identifying susceptibilities, vulnerabilities and threats throughout DoD’s “supply chain” and developing mitigation strategies to combat those threats whether presented by the supplier, the supplied product and its subcomponents, or the supply chain.”

Supply Chain Risk Management includes more than cyber threats, so it isn’t just an IT problem.  Risk touches all functions in the supply chain, and it needs to be addressed by the operators, too.  The next time somebody tells you that supply chain risk is an IT problem and tries to kick the can down the hall, remember that family in California.



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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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