Archives for February 2020

The allegory of the rail.

By Steve Geary | 02/21/2020 | 8:21 AM

In February, subzero temperatures in Canada can cause logistics disruptions.  This year, in addition to the weather, there is a massive rail blockage triggered by the Wet'suwet'en, an indigenous nation in British Columbia.

“Rail lines across Canada have been paralysed for almost two weeks after being blockaded by indigenous protesters and their supporters,” reported the BBC on February 20.

Though the specific issue triggering the response across Canada is specific to British Columbia, the blockade actions have spread to other locations across Canada.

According to the Los Angeles times, “protesters created a rail roadblock in Ontario, and sympathy protests popped up as far away as the Maritime Provinces, more than 2,800 miles from the site where Coastal GasLink plans a $5-billion project.”

Is the Canadian situation a government challenge?  A private sector challenge?  Or is it just another example of the risks associated with the government and private sector interface?

Think about rail choke points in the United States, and consider your risk profile with the Canadian situation in mind.  Supply Chain Risk Management matters 

The coronavirus and China. The logistics threat is closer than you think.

By Steve Geary | 02/12/2020 | 10:54 AM

Dun and Bradstreet looked into the coronavirus and found, “At least 51,000 (163 Fortune 1000) companies around the world have one or more direct or Tier 1 suppliers in the impacted region, and at least five million companies (938 Fortune 1000) around the world have one or more Tier 2 suppliers in the impacted region.”

Have you activated your contingency plan to shift to sources away from the affected region?  Contingency plans matter, especially for internationally sourced components.

Do you have a risk adjusted process to manage threats across your portfolio that addresses events like the corona virus?  Oversight matters.

Do have any way of assessing the impact of risk propagating through lower level of your distribution network?  Tier 2 matters.

Have you identified alternative sources of supply, especially for you internationally source components?  Order from a location in the United States doesn’t mean your product is coming from the United States.

In the aftermath of the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, these are some issues every logistics practitioner in the United States should be considering.  There are more.  Get to work.

How big will the coronaviras disrupt logistics flows?

By Steve Geary | 02/08/2020 | 4:33 PM

According to the Washington Post, "China is paralyzed by the coronavirus, which has infected more than 28,000 people in the mainland and killed more than 560. It has also brought China’s powerful manufacturing industry to a standstill as travel restrictions freeze the country’s workforce and major companies such as Boeing, Apple and Nike have been forced to close factories until at least mid-February."

If you rely on China to keep your warehouse stocked, it is time to dust off your Plan B.

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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