The goal of this blog post is to explain why I believe strongly that New York Needs A Supply Chain Meetup. You can join The New York Supply Chain Meetup here.
By many estimates, supply chain inefficiencies impose significant overhead costs on corporations, and on the world as a whole. When one reads about the global systemic problems that people at the United Nations, The World Bank, The World Economic Forum, The G20, and other multinational bodies are thinking about and trying to solve, the theme of supply chain inefficiency cuts across all the problems. This is a big problem – I will try to outline the size of the problem in a separate post.
According to Martin Christopher a Supply Chain is;
A network of connected and interdependent organisations mutually and co-operatively working together to control, manage and improve the flow of materials and information from suppliers to end users.
– Martin Christopher, Logistics & Supply Chain Management: Creating Value-Adding Networks, 4th ed, Pearson Education Limited 2011, page 4.
As the definition above indicates, for supply chain networks to function effectively there must be an ongoing flow of goods, information, and funds in the form of money.
Human civilization has been built over time through this movement of goods, information, and funds. As I put it;
The past ran on supply chains. The present runs on supply chains. The future will run on supply chains. The world is a supply chain.
To move all the stuff people need everyday around the world, people in many different areas of expertise must work harmoniously together. Furthermore, technology platforms associated with these different professional disciplines must work to enable the flow of goods, information, and money. Here’s a small sample;
- Purchasing and procurement,
- Supply chain management,
- Supply chain finance,
- Trade finance,
- Risk management,
- Regulations and compliance,
- Corporate banking,
- Transactional banking,
- Corporate treasury,
- Customs and excise,
- Contract law,
- Trade law,
The technology developments of the 21st Century present us with an opportunity to make a significant dent in this problem. New York has a unique capacity to lead global efforts to solve this problem. Why?
- In 2016 New York had total exports of $74,406,138,530, and
- In 2016 New York had total imports of $130,179,226,114.
- There are nearly 40,000 businesses in New York that sell products overseas, of which 94% are small and medium-size companies which accounted for 53% of the export volume.
- New York’s top-ten export partners are Canada, Hong Kong, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Israel, Belgium, India, Mexico, China, and France.
- New York’s top-ten import partners are China, Canada, India, Switzerland, Israel, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium. ((Data from: https://globaledge.msu.edu/states/new-york/tradestats. Accessed on Sep. 10, 2017.))
To be able to support this volume of trade with the rest of the world, there must be a lot people in New York who directly or indirectly know a lot about the things that keep supply chains humming.
So, the goal of the meetup is to bring these people – experts and novices alike – together, on a regular basis to;
- Promote entrepreneurs working on solving supply chain problems,
- Hear how mature companies in different industries are solving their current supply chain problems and planning for the future,
- Nurture collaboration between mature companies and startups to enable the implementation of promising supply chain platforms in the real world,
- Explore what new technologies can do to hasten dramatic efficiency gains in global supply chain networks,
- Promote academic research on topics related to increasing supply chain efficiency,
- Engage public policy experts and regulators on issues related to supply chain . . . and other things I have not thought of yet.
It’s early days – the meetup is not yet even a month old, and has fewer than 70 members as of a few minutes ago. We have not yet had our first meetup. Fortunately, Lisa Morales-Hellebo, Brian Lidquist, and Paula Cadman-Mendoza have volunteered to assist with getting the meetup organized. Still, it will take a lot of effort. Fortunately, supply chains are not going anywhere and fixing the problems that make them inefficient will require a concerted team effort.