What Is the Cost of a 100 Percent Secure U.S. Supply Chain?
Everyone wants to be confident that growing international supply chains are secure and homeland security (or global security, for that matter) isn't threatened. The trick is to figure out how to do this without inhibiting the delicate balance of the increasingly global economy.
Just two years ago, a natural supply and demand imbalance at the Port of Long Beach caused major disruptions to the inventory levels of suppliers and retailers, regrettably just as the holiday season began. However, some national security officials report the likelihood of an attack through the global supply chain is so high that it is a matter of when, not if.
If supply were disrupted at just one major port, what economic problems would a U.S.-wide port shutdown cause, such as the airways stoppage during the September 11 disaster? A post-9/11 simulation exercise forecast that closing the nation's ports for 12 days would cost the economy roughly $58bn. We must ask a practical question: how can we establish a 100 percent secure supply chain without slowing the flow of the economy or imposing overly restrictive costs?
Most answers lead to the availability and use of more information, process automation, and new technologies not just by U.S. corporations, shipping companies, and domestic ports, but at factories and facilities at international origins as well.
Can we get buy-in from the rest of the world? Maybe...but we may have burned so much political capital after 9/11 and the Iraq debacle, that the sourcing nations may only pay us lip service until a "real" event presents itself. Scary, to say the least...