Inbound Logistics | January 2022


by Jeffrey G. Tucker CEO, Tucker Company Worldwide 856-317-9600 |

National Security Starts With Individual Manufacturers

Shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other critical supplies like pharmaceutical ingredients and materials used in key technologies during the earliest days of the pandemic prompted the Biden-Harris Administration in 2021 to outline steps strengthening critical supply chains. It ’s a long-overdue move that to some transportation experts may not go far enough in protecting national security.

upon China exporting them to the United States, the risk to our economy and our daily lives during an armed conflict, heavy-handed diplomacy, or a more serious pandemic becomes clear. Most of our critical supplies are dependent upon a potential adversary. China’s leadership watched this leverage play out during the pandemic’s shut down of the economy and saw how the U.S. economy and citizenry could potentially be choked without firing a shot. Government can only do so much in protecting supply chains. The Biden- Harris Administration is instituting the big changes that only a government can do. But if we define national security through the eyes of 335 million Americans, more needs to be done to secure global supply chains all the way down to the individual level. If this is the case, the main actors charged with maintaining supply chains that protect individual security must be the individual producers, manufacturers, and merchants. The supply chain decisions of sellers have tremendous impact. The collective role of individual companies in securing the global supply chains is everything. Through diversification of transportation and logistics resources, inventory

Overly concentrated supply chains are the definition of national insecurity. The weeks of empty meat cases and grocery shelves experienced during the pandemic prove the fragility of the basic supply chains that impact every American every day. But we won’t achieve national security until each one of our citizens is made secure by the free and dependable flow of necessities. During disasters, even “safety” inventory doesn’t stop the run on our stores. What businesses must do is have more resilient and redundant supply chains, with alternative resources and suppliers. That way we will not be entirely reliant upon China, slow ocean freight, and slow port operations for so many critical goods. We must begin to address this situation, or we can never minimize the risks that bare necessities may be cut off

from all small communities and urban neighborhoods. Until we do that, we just won’t be there. NOT EVERY AMERICAN KNOWS HOW DIRE SHORTAGES OF CRITICAL SUPPLIES BECAME IN 2020. The Biden-Harris Administration’s Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force outlined how to secure rare minerals, the raw materials of pharmaceuticals and lithium for batteries. These items are also critical to our national security. During the early days of the pandemic, the availability of life-saving essential items was threatened, and the role of the global supply chain in national security got real. Medical equipment and PPE became scarce commodities when they were most needed to save lives. If all these materials are dependent

90 Inbound Logistics • January 2022

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