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Making the supply chain more competitive on a national level

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
October 16, 2012

Who says a supply chain is not a competitive asset? Not the federal government; that is for sure.

In an effort focused on addressing “supply chain issues that affect the international competitiveness,” Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank late last week announced the debut of the Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness in recognition of the critical role that freight transportation and policies play in enabling products to be made in America and exported globally.

The main role of the Committee, which Commerce said are comprised of 40 senior-level private sector representatives of multiple industries and supply chain experts that the department appointed, is to advise the Secretary, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other U.S. agencies on supply chain issues that affect the international competitiveness of U.S. business. Committee members come from various supply chain backgrounds, including manufacturers, 3PL’s, industry associations, port authorities, airlines, and consultants, among others.

The Committee’s first meeting is on October 19.

Commerce said that the Committee will act as a liaison between industry and government and will also endeavor to ensure regular contact with supply chain-based industries, including manufacturers, distributors, and exports. It added that the Committee’s advice will play a role in developing a national freight policy and in executing President Obama’s National Export Initiative, whose goal is to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

The Committee will also have the ear of key policy makers inside the Beltway, including Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, whom Commerce said will serve on the Committee as non-voting members and work with those and other agencies to coordinate government activities and programs to implement Committee recommendations.

This concept of this Committee seems like a solid idea, albeit one which is long overdue. Given that total U.S. spending on infrastructure represents about 1 percent of U.S. GDP along with the fact that transportation or supply chain or logistics (pick your word here) is not even likely to be mentioned during tonight’s Presidential debate.

I find it ironic that while transportation and logistics are literally around us all day every day, it still struggles to get a seat at the “grown ups” table when it comes to national policy. Hopefully, the formation of the Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness starts to change that theme.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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