Conversation

  • Supply chain thinking at Cornwall
    The Group of Seven joint communique gives significant attention to the vaccine supply chain then extends several anti-pandemic principles toward achieving greater economic resilience. Here is a long-quote that makes the pivot: The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the risk to economic resilience posed by global crises and shocks. These can manifest from acute shocks, for […]
  • Supply chain thinking at the White House
    The 100 Day Supply Chain Review delivered on June 8 is aimed at solving four big problems. Six much more comprehensive supply chain reports are due to be delivered in February 2022. The Executive Order framing these reports emphasizes, “The United States needs resilient, diverse, and secure supply chains to ensure our economic prosperity and […]
  • 100 Day Supply Chain Review
    On Tuesday, June 8 White House staff and cabinet agencies delivered a supply chain report to President Biden. Instructions for the report were set out in a February 24 Executive Order. This is the first of two related reports. This initial output focuses on current supply chain challenges involving semiconductors, high capacity batteries, critical and […]
  • Demand and Supply Disruptions
    My month long hiatus is the result of too much demand and too little supply, especially of personal time and energy. I was surprised by how surprised so many seemed to be by the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack. Anytime so much supply capacity for such a high demand product is so tightly concentrated, risk accumulates and […]
  • Post-Colonial Challenges
    How long Friday’s shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline persists is the critical issue. Most news reports indicate this infrastructure carries “roughly 45% of gasoline and diesel fuel consumed on the East Coast.” This is accurate, but significantly understates market dependence between Atlanta and Washington DC. In many local markets dependence for some fuel categories is […]
  • Disequilibrium
    The headlines tend to bounce between semiconductor chips and vaccines. But mismatched supply and demand extends into many more channels, nodes, and products. Each mismatch has its own tale to tell. Yet similar protagonists and antagonists are shared: disrupted production, congested transport, and shifting demand are each and all implicated, even when differentiated as cause […]
  • India: Biology or Behavior?
    Of course it is each, both, and the push and pull in between. It will be months or years before we can accurately deconstruct the interplay and proportions behind the exponential surge in disease and death across the subcontinent. More contagious variants are implicated. Some of these variants may be innately more lethal. It is […]
  • The Next Year: Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Prescription
    Last week an earnest well-intended political leader said, “All it takes to beat this virus and return to normal is getting shots in arms.” It is tempting to make this claim. Mass vaccinations are making a positive difference. The closer we get to or beat 80 percent vaccination rates, the less our risk of wide-spread […]
  • Demand Management in Action
    From a supply chain perspective, pandemic response can be conceived as a local-to-global effort to manage demand for health care. Supply chain professionals typically work to deliver more faster. But in this case, we want to deliver fewer covid patients to hospitals and slow overall deliveries. To do this, various methods have been deployed to […]
  • Patterns suggest principles to inform practice
    On April 19, the Wall Street Journal published a substantive, concise piece on the semiconductor supply chain. Please read: Why the Chip Shortage is so Hard to Overcome. Several generalizable Supply Chain Resilience principles are articulated (but not headlined) in the WSJ piece. I bet I could find a WSJ piece from the second-quarter of […]
  • One in 884 million
    I received my first dose of the Moderna vaccine on April 17. With this jab I joined just over 131 million residents of the United States — and 884 million fellow humans — who have been vaccinated against covid in the last five months. Among my U.S. age cohort (over 65) about 80 percent have […]
  • Near-term Vaccine Flows
    The recommended pause in administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will have modest near-term network-level impacts. For a host of reasons, J&J has not been expected to begin releasing large numbers of doses until late April and May. This week (April 12-17) the J&J allocation for states was sized — pre-pause — at about 700,000 […]
  • Michigan’s Message?
    As U.S. covid cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to climb, the situation in Michigan is cause for particular concern. Michigan hospitalizations have surged sharply since mid-March. Michigan has a higher proportion of the B.1.1.7 variant circulating than any other state. Early observations have found that B.1.1.7 and two other variants are more easily transmissible. Some […]
  • Increased Demand for Hospital Care
    On March 31 the seven-day moving average for new hospitalizations in the United States was 4969. On March 16 the seven-day moving average was 4701. This is the wrong direction. Will this increase persist? This is the sort of slight upward curve that the Europeans saw starting in late February.
  • Vigilance Perceives a Vector
    US case counts are increasing in more places than not, with double-digit increases in Delaware, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Michigan. The national average for hospitalizations has, according to some sources, reversed its recent declines. The number of deaths-per-day has increased by more than ten percent in Delaware, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Colorado, Virginia, New York, Connecticut, […]
  • Learning (Re-learning?)
    A journalist has asked several to write — in 300 words or less — what the pandemic has taught us about supply chains. Here is how I responded: What did the pandemic teach you about supply chains? The pandemic has (so far) mostly emphasized essential characteristics that tend to be taken for granted in less […]
  • The Ever Given Analogy
    The huge container ship blocking the busy Suez Canal is, perhaps, the best analogy ever given for innate tensions — and potential frictions — at the core of contemporary demand and supply networks. Ever Given was enroute from Tanjung Pelebas, Malaysia to Rotterdam carrying about 20,000 TEU. Not long after entering the Suez Canal high […]
  • Three Data Indicators
    The current situation in Europe, India, and Brazil each (and all) demonstrate the continuing risk of another surge in disease. US hospital admissions related to covid continue to ease. This indicator is our most rigorous signal of covid’s “demand-pull” on the healthcare system. In my judgment fatalities, while even more rigorous, signal demand cessation or, […]
  • More Vigilance
    According to the Los Angeles Times, recent CDC analyses assessed two contending variants of the coronavirus. The B.1.427./B.1.429 variant, first identified in California, is now prevalent in that state and spreading further. But outside California, the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, is claiming a much higher percentage of new transmissions. A study […]
  • Resilience Principles and Practice
    A recent White House Executive Order notes, “The United States needs resilient, diverse, and secure supply chains to ensure our economic prosperity and national security.” Supply chain risks can be reduced or transferred, but many risks cannot be avoided. For demand and supply networks to fulfill their purposes, a wide range of insecurities are innate […]
  • Vigilance
    Italy has toughened Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions as infection rates increased ten-percent over last week. A sharp increase in German case counts has also been seen. ICU beds are close to full in Brazil. US coronavirus daily case counts and covid-19 death-rates continue to decline. (Hospitalizations are now more difficult to track). Variants are more prevalent in […]
  • Better Days?
    As far as I can tell, the current context for covid-19 in the United States is constrained and becoming more constrained. Our current condition is better than I expected eight weeks ago or even two weeks ago. Given the current status of virus mutations, reasonable projections for vaccination rates, and continued Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions, it now […]
  • Francine Lacqua interviews Moderna co-founder Noubar Afeyan
    This Bloomberg interview is helpful on very timely issues of vaccine development and timeless issues of creativity, organization, and leadership.
  • Answering Vaccine Distribution Questions
    In preparation for a March 4 interview the following questions were sent ahead.  To organize my own thinking, here is my written “homework.”  What does the vaccine distribution strategy look like from a supply chain perspective? i.e., How does it differ from other types of supply chains? The US vaccine distribution strategy has been — basically […]

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