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Feb. 24, 2023
Supply Chain Digest Flagship Newsletter


This Week in SCDigest

bullet Nearing Supply Chain Armageddon? bullet SCDigest On-Target e-Magazine
bullet Supply Chain Graphic & by the Numbers for the Week bullet New Stock Index

New Chain Cartoon Caption Contest!

bullet Trivia      bullet Feedback
bullet New Expert Column bullet On Demand Videocasts


This Week's Sponsor



New Faculty!

Updated Content for 2023!

Session 3 - WMS Vendor Selection Best Practices

March 9, 2023

Expert Faculty: Dan Gilmore (Softeon) and Tom Singer (Tompkins Solutions)

Register for this one, some, or All Five Sessions!

Future sessions include  Keys to WMS Vendor Selection, A Blueprint for WMS Implementation Success and more


Learn More, or

first thought


Supply Chain Graphic
of the Week


The Scary Impact of ChatGPT

This Week's Supply Chain Numbers

Target Continues to Invest in eFulfillment
FedEx Pilots Authorize Strike Vote
Freight Tonnage Index Rises Modestly in January
Retail Store Closings Announced thus Far in 2023


Show Us Your Supply Chain Wit! See Full Size Cartoon/Enter

Expert Insight

The Importance of Pre-Shipment Inspections for Supply Chain Diversification



Pre-shipment Inspections can Mean the Difference Between Success and Failure in Today's Competitive Global Market


Viktor Haggstrom
Marketing Content Specialist


Read Now

 This Week's SCDigest OnTarget Newsletter

Cartoon, Top SCDigest Stories of the Week

Who famously laid out the basic idea for what today is a giant supply chain company in a college term paper in 1965?
Answer Found at the
Bottom of the Page


Nearing Supply Chain Armageddon?

Regular SCDigest readers will know we have kept pretty close tabs on two areas of geo-political danger that could upend supply chains, to say the least.

The first would be China's activities in the past 5 years in the South China Sea, where China claims sovereignty (contrary to international law) over large areas of the ocean, building fake islands across the region that it is loading with military equipment. Every few months or so, US Navy ships sail through these waters, triggering condemnation and warnings from China - and sometimes China Navy ships as escorts to US vessels.



Williams says: If Xi arms Russia and the West retaliates with sanctions against China, hardliners in Beijing will argue that now is the ideal time to annex Taiwan.

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Feedback here

More recently, tensions over Taiwan have risen to perhaps all-time highs, with some convinced China is readying plans for an invasion soon.

Just yesterday, China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, met Putin in Moscow to reaffirm their "ongoing co-operation."

"If China weighs in with open support for the Russian dictator's beleaguered army, then our whole way of life could be threatened," Williams writes.

Why? Such support would "cross a red line," Williams says, in which "China's president Xi will be declaring China an implacable enemy of the democratic world, especially the US - while the war in Ukraine will be indefinitely prolonged," Williams predicts.

The West would have to react, Williams says, which could lead to severing our trade ties with the Chinese - an economic earthquake that would dwarf anything seen with Russia over Ukraine.

"We are hopelessly reliant on Chinese electronics, engineering and much else," Williams correctly points out, adding "There is barely a supply chain that does not run through China and we in the West have been too slow to reduce critical dependencies."

One example: despite shifting some of its production to India and Vietnam, Apple relies on China for 95% of its iPhone output. The supply chain created to build these smartphones is more complex and highly tuned than any seen in any other industry.

It would be impossible to quickly rebuild outside of China. That could lead to phone shortages - and soaring costs.

That if it even could be done. Electronics, batteries, defense equipment and more today require use in manufacturing of "rare earth metals" -17 obscure minerals (neodymium, dysprosium, yttrium, cerium, etc.) that are essential to modern life.

China currently mines as much as 63% of the world's rare earths and performs around 85% of the processing, which is expensive and messy, Williams notes, so messy Western governments haven't wanted the process in their countries despite the perilous supply situation that is the result. But without these materials, Western defense systems could be irreparable when they break down, along with creating shortages of many other vital products.

Then there is this, Williams says: If Xi arms Russia and the West retaliates with sanctions against China, hardliners in Beijing will argue that now is the ideal time to annex Taiwan.

Whether the US jumps in to defend Taiwan is unknown, but even if not the damage to Taiwan's ability to make semiconductors, of which it supplies some 67% of the world's total, would be devastated.

And you thought there was a chip shortage in 2022? Trivial compared to this, causing prices of many goods to soar or be simply unavailable, further tanking the economy.

There's more, but you get the picture. We are in dangerous times - and Williams ends by saying if "Xi Jinping crosses that red line, the world will change forever."

What is your reaction to the possibility of supply chain Armageddon? Let us know your thought at the Feedback section below.


See as Web page/Printable Version

On Demand Videocast:

Understanding Distributed Order Management

Highlights from the New "Little Book of Distributed Order Management"

In this outstanding Videocast, we'll discuss DOM, based on the new Little Book of Distributed Order Management, written by our two Videocast presenters.

Featuring Dan Gilmore, Editor along with Satish Kumar, VP Client Services, Softeon

Now Available On Demand

On Demand Videocast:

The Grain Drain: Large-Scale Grain Port Terminal Optimization

The Constraints and Challenges of Planning and Implementing Port Operations

This videocast will provide a walkthrough of two ways to formulate a MIP, present an example port, and discuss port operations.

Featuring Dan Gilmore, Editor along with Dr. Evan Shellshear, Head of Analytics, Biarri.

Now Available On Demand

On Demand Videocast:

A Blueprint for WMS Implementation Success

If You Want a Successful WMS Project, You will Find the Blueprint in this Excellent Broadcast

This videocast lays out the keys to ensuring your WMS implementation goes smoothly, involves minimal pain, and accelerates time to value.

Featuring Dan Gilmore, Editor along with Todd Kovi of Radix Consulting and Dinesh Dongre of Softeon.

Now Available On Demand


Feedback will return next week.

Who famously laid out the basic idea for what today is a giant supply chain company in a college term paper in 1965?

A: FedEx founder Fed Smith

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