Supply Chain Managers Must Leverage “Market Power” for Security and Profit

Supply chain managers arguably have no peer in understanding the complexity of the global economic and regulatory environment. In like manner, they’re among those best positioned to expedite a cutting-edge approach to public-private security cooperation that boosts economic competitiveness while advancing the public interest.

By ·

Decentralized criminal and terrorist networks are moving at the speed of 21st-century commerce.

According to a recent report issued by the Stimson Center in Washington, DC, new forms of global illicit trafficking threats, means that these partnerships are even more important.  Nate Olson, a research associate for the Managing Across Boundaries Initiative at Stimson, maintains that reliable data on global contraband flows is “notoriously evasive.” One estimate, he says, puts the total annual trade in illicit goods, excluding money laundering, at $650 billion. Illegal narcotics, along with counterfeit pharmaceuticals and electronics, accounted for roughly half.)

But in quantitative and qualitative terms, there’s little doubt that the problem is serious and growing. Whether they deal in drugs, counterfeit products, or weapons, decentralized criminal and terrorist networks are co-opting the same physical and informational infrastructure that enables legitimate trade. “They’re moving at the speed of 21st-century commerce,” says Olson.

Stimson analysts add that this hasn’t stopped governments from trying to bring cross-border trade more within their reach through the usual countermeasures of customs enforcement, intelligence gathering, and industry mandates. Yet even when the policy objective is laudable, using the traditional tools alone are often inadequate, and the report indicates that they can have unintended consequences. For example, new disclosure requirements related to minerals from conflict-affected areas, impose what many regard as “unrealistic” diligence standards on firms far downstream in supply chains for electronics.

More tomorrow.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Refining TMS Integration Outside the Four Walls of the Warehouse
How shippers can use a modern transportation management system (TMS) to successfully integrate across the supply chain ecosystem and create a truly digital network.
Download Today!
From the October 2017 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
A leading distributor of professional salon products in the U.S. forms unique partnerships with its key LTLs to lower transport costs, reduce its carbon footprint and improve service to its 565 store locations.
Q4 2017 Rail/Intermodal Roundtable: Improvements apparent; work remains
LM Viewpoint: Collaboration, Now more than ever
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
EDITORS' PICKS
SalonCentric: One Beautiful Network
A leading distributor of professional salon products in the U.S. forms unique partnerships with its...
26th Annual Study of Logistics and Transportation Trends: Transportation at Digital Speed
While a majority of companies strongly agree that transportation is a strategically important...

34th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: Winners Revealed
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers, and North American ports have crossed the service...
2017 Salary Survey: Fresh Voices Express Optimism
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management...