Recent news has the US politicians in a tizzy. What has long been known to supply chain professionals, but has just become recent news to them, is that American ports are not really owned by Americans. Well, guys, what about the Americans’ growing debt.
It is time for you, the American Supply Chain Professionals to stand-up.
Only you have the keys to your company—and your own—success!
Meetings and proposals about US trade issues have gone to Congress for centuries. Our founding father, John Jay, spend years in Britain to create a trade treaty with Britain, but that did not allow us to move goods on our own ships from the West Indies. When Jay returned in 1794, he was burned in effigy in numerous rural areas. But Congress passed the treaty anyway, relieved, they supposed, from the fear of another war with King George. Staving off the inevitable until the War of 1812, we finally settled the score in 1814 in New Orleans!
However, here we are again, at the feet of Congress, now with a study on how to regain American competitiveness. Make math fun in the 12th grade and all will be right with the world.
The problems of economic competitiveness are complex. On the one side, nations who are busy making money—China, South Korea, Brazil, the US, Canada, the G8 and others—tend to fight over deals—sending their children to colleges, factories, the Olympics, the entertainment and fashion industries, and the internet—to demonstrate their economic prowess. As Deng Xiaoping said, “It is glorious to be Rich”. And he was right!
We were recently in Puerto Rico, where supply chain prowess discussions were all the rage. How to win more business for the island—make our distributors’ ports more effective. I have made these trips over the years (too many to admit) to other island nations—Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, etc. It’s the same story.
The news was also awash with the woes of GM. My friends, GM is just a bigger example of the failing American system—Golf. Now, I do not want to disturb my many good friends who are fabulous golfers. But unfortunately, we are still in this era of steel executives and politicians doing their deals at golf games, when they should be walking the factory floors, studying the hard numbers, and learning about their supply chains. It could have been different. Confronted with programs that would have helped them make better tooling decisions (saving billions)—or improving responsiveness (making more sales)—or cutting cycle times, reducing inventory (improving operating results, avoiding markdowns due to over stocks etc.)—they decided not to implement them.
So, I come back to you—the supply chain people out there. How hard do you want to fight? Will you fight to keep your job, to keep the job of your fellow workers? I roll my eyes when I hear reports chirping on these topics.
Now it’s your turn!