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Consumer Brands Call for National Office of Supply Chain

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You know we are living in interesting times when major business interests call for more government oversight of the private sector. Yet that is more or less what the Consumer Brands Association (CBA), which represents more than 1,900 consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands, asked for this week.

Working with the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) and researchers from Iowa State University, CBA proposed the creation of a National Office of Supply Chain “to provide much-needed expertise, facilitate coordination across the federal government and encourage collaboration with the private sector.”

That might sound to some like the National Organization of Canines calling for greater oversight of dog parks and fire hydrants by deep-state felines employed by a new National Office of Housecats. But CBA insists its proposal would not grow the regulatory bureaucracy.

“Far from heralding bigger government or yet another agency, such an entity would actually make better use of what we already have,” Tom Madrecki, CBA vice president of supply chain and logistics, explained in a blog today. “The U.S. is not lacking in supply chain policy — in fact, it’s quite abundant. Many different policies impact businesses and ultimately the consumers those businesses serve. But the interplay between those policies and the private sector has not been fully documented or well understood; this … is a first attempt at reconciling that gap and bringing to light the need for greater coordination and strategic alignment.”

CBA is not alone in wanting to reconcile that gap. Earlier this month, Congressmen Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) and Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) introduced H.R. 1024 to create the Office of COVID-19 Supply Chain Resiliency. Consumer Brands’ proposal is similar but broader.

“Between COVID-19, winter storms and more, there’s mounting awareness that we need to take action to shore up our supply chains,” Madrecki said. “Strategic policymaking and strong government leadership is a critical piece of that. Consumer Brands looks forward to working with all partners, including Reps. Schneider and Johnson, to get America’s supply chains on the right track.”

“Our report identifies dozens of opportunities for government to help improve the tremendous complexity and interconnected nature of modern supply chains.”

In addition, CBA and its partners today released a report that recommends the National Office of Supply Chain look into:

  • Infrastructure matters related to supply chain;
  • Standardization of federal regulations that impact supply chain;
  • Matters related to digitization and cybersecurity;
  • The shortage of qualified labor; and
  • Supply chain technology and innovations.

“Well-intentioned policy efforts are currently hindered by the disjointed nature of government and the lack of an overarching national strategy,” said Chris Adderton, vice president of CSCMP. “Our report identifies dozens of opportunities for government to help improve the tremendous complexity and interconnected nature of modern supply chains.”

The new office would be run out of the White House. As a matter of fact, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is scheduled to meet with President Biden at the White House on Wednesday to discuss supply chain issues. Biden has made the review of supply chain vulnerabilities a major priority of his administration.

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