The supply chain is in shambles and although the pandemic caused a lot of the problems, the trillion-dollar industry was already built on a shaky foundation. Instead of assuming the end of the pandemic will fix the crisis, we need to create proactive solutions for the long-standing issues within the chain. This means getting our hands dirty and making big infrastructure changes. While change can be daunting, waiting solves nothing. It’s time to take action and figure out what can be done now:
Nationalize the Ports
Americans love international goods and because 90% of products are transported by sea, high-functioning ports are integral to the nation. However, ports are not run with the entire country in mind because they are owned by the city they are in. A local mayor does not have the resources needed to properly innovate their port to make it a national asset. Simply put, money needs to be put into US ports. New technology, automation, infrastructure changes, and robotics will only be made possible by large federal investments. With port systems geared toward the technology of tomorrow, American businesses will be able to become global competitors.
Pesky Zoning Laws
In October 2021, Ryan Peterson, founder and CEO of Flexport, a supply chain logistics software company, highlighted issues within port regulation laws through a series of now-viral tweets. The CEO took a tour around the Long Beach port and noticed that much of the traffic jam was caused by empty shipping containers not being stacked higher than two. These empty containers were taking up precious space and because they were stored on top of available chassis they prevented other containers at the port from being taken away. Peterson’s solution was to change the zoning law preventing the stacking of containers above two to six. Within the same day of Peterson’s tweets, the mayor of Long Beach announced that cargo containers could be stacked up to four high. Across the nation’s ports, there are hidden laws like this that end up clogging up ports. We need to be diving into the system, finding what is causing the traffic jam, and implementing fast change.
The global supply chain industry is worth upwards of $19 trillion and is only set to grow more. With an industry valued at this level, you would think it would be equipped with the most cutting-edge technology. Incorrect. Innovative software offering automated business processes, real-time tracking, and collaborative data entry is just a small taste of what the industry needs. Distributors across the nation have seen the benefit of updating their chosen business software by implementing Recurrency. Trucking companies, port management, and international shipping companies need to find equally driven and ambitious software companies to support them.
One Step at a Time
The one thing to remember about the current state of the supply chain is that it’s fixable. There are dozens of solutions and innovative ideas that can help not only return the chain to normal but make it better, too. Like most things, the hard part is starting. Then we’ll gain momentum. After all, it’s a chain. And a chain is only as strong as its weakest link…