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
Supply Chain Visibility: Illuminating the Path to Responsive, Agile Operations
Supply chain visibility is not an end, but a tool. It is the means to achieving true supply chain effectiveness, agility and ultimately, corporate profitability.
Download Today!
From the December 2017 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
Trade and transport analysts see rates rising across all modes in accordance with continued expansion of domestic and international markets. Economists, meanwhile, say shippers can expect revenue growth in transport verticals to remain in the 3%-plus range.
2018 Customs & Regulations Update:10 observations on the “digital trade transformation”
Moore on Pricing: Freight settlement and your TMS
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2018 Rate Forecast
Join our panel of top oil and transportation analysts for an exclusive look at where rates are headed and the issues driving those rate increases over the coming year.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2018 Rate Outlook: Economic Expansion, Pushing Rates Skyward
Trade and transport analysts see rates rising across all modes in accordance with continued...
Building the NextGen Supply Chain: Keeping pace with the digital economy
Peerless Media’s 2017 Virtual Summit shows how creating a data-rich ecosystem can eliminate...

2017 NASSTRAC Shipper of the Year: Mallinckrodt; Mastering and managing complexity
An inside look at how a large pharmaceutical firm transformed its vendor and supplier relationships...
2017 Alliance Awards: Recognizing outstanding supply chain partnerships
In an era where effective supply chain collaboration is both highly valued and elusive, Logistics...