Archives for August 2019

Brexit and the pizza pie

By Steve Geary | 08/28/2019 | 4:11 PM

According to a CNN report on August 6, in the United Kingdom “Domino's is stockpiling pizza ingredients to protect against a disorderly Brexit.”  In today’s global economy, all supply chains – and by implication, logistics networks – are facing materiel risk at an unprecedented scale.  Sometimes the risk we face are beyond our control, but that doesn’t absolve leaders of the responsibility to mitigate.

We all have critical materiel flows.  These flows typically include imports.  At Domino’s UK, CNN reports that the set of critical inputs includes tomato sauce, frozen chicken, pineapple and tuna.  Not complex, but clearly essential if you run a pizza shop.  Even the simplest supply chains can create considered strategies to mitigate supply chain risk. 

Domino’s in the UK has a plan.  Do you?

Trade war, skirmish, or stalemate?

By Steve Geary | 08/18/2019 | 10:55 AM

The trade deficit with China is trending favorably. A comparison of the first six months of 2019 with the comparable period in 2018 shows the trade deficit with China edging down. That’s a reduction of about 10%, according to Census Bureau statistics.

Welcome news, perhaps, but hardly a breakthrough. 

If the logistics network in Southeast Asia were to realign, a surge in trade with Bangladesh or Vietnam would be expected. The trade deficit with Bangladesh is up by about a third, by about one hundred million dollars a month. The trade deficit with Vietnam is also up by a third, about a billion dollars a month.

Logistics professionals are flexing, evolving away from China, but that is not the same as reshoring to domestic U.S., or even North American, sources. Port volume at Los Angeles–Long Beach is up 3.9%, higher than the growth rate of the U.S. economy. The growth in the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for the 2nd quarter 2019 was 2.1 percent, and the 1st quarter clocked in at 3.1 percent

This data demonstrates that the global logistics networks are evolving, perhaps balkanizing, but that is not the same as reshoring. How the tensions with China will resolve is unknowable. What is clear is that logisticians need to pay attention. 

Supply Chain Risk Management matters.  Educate your boss.

Improvise, adapt, overcome.  That’s logistics.

By Steve Geary | 08/02/2019 | 3:06 PM

My firm does a lot of work with the Federal Government.  One 30-something federal employee, Jae (not her real name), has been in many of our supply chain classes.  She faithfully gets on an airplane a couple of times a year to further her professional knowledge with structured education to make her agency better.  Jae has been doing that for the past couple of years. 

She primarily takes courses in the summer months for a compelling reason:  Jae is a single Mom.  Managing her kid’s school, related activities, working full time, and building a career is challenging during the school year.  In the summer Jae has more flexibility, and she takes advantage of it. 

Jae reaches into her own pocket to buy companion plane tickets for her kid – on a civil servant’s salary – and they fly to the schoolhouse so Jae can take classes.  Jae leaves the schoolhouse at noon every day to have lunch with her child, and then returns for the afternoon. 

Jae has all the right instincts.  In logistics, we improvise, adapt, and overcome.  Some folks, like Jae, have those instincts hardwired. It’s how she excels and succeeds at what she does:  supply chain and logistics.

As a bonus at the end of the week, they took in some of the metro DC and Northern Virginia sites before heading to the airport. 

Everybody wins - the Federal Government, the taxpayer, Jae, and her kid.  That’s improvise, adapt, and overcome. 

That’s logistics.

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

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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