The baby formula shortage is deplorable. And it’s nice that the government is trying to figure out how to help get more product into the supply chain. And it’s good to rethink restrictions on imports and get them moving.
But let’s not forget the real cause of the problem. It’s the fact that Abbott Labs would not agree to implement process changes required to reopen the plant that was shut down by the FDA for failing to meet standards for production.
So this is a case when industry and business failed to look out for the welfare of babies.
They failed to monitor the production properly to prevent contamination. And then they argued about how to fix it rather than jumping in to do the job fast. Was he cost the reason?
There are some times when firms just have to step up, admit a problem, and fix it fast. That did not happen here.
We should be glaring at Abbott for failing to prevent this mess we have to fix for them.
And I’m sure there are many other cases in other fields, most not so inconvenient and harmful as a shortage of baby formula.
A sign of the disruption of container shipping processes is the dumping of cargo in Singapore. This article discusses some of the issues in East Asian ports.
While there’s hope that ocean carriers will divert ships there, we don’t know that it will happen, and with ships tied up waiting at other ports there may not be enough vessels to follow the short-term need.
Standards for port call activities could provide a basis for a data exchange system for status, and could also provide motivation for a priority basis for specific containers.
There’s currently no message or signaling system allowing all the supply chain partners to move a given container to know the required speed of service. Partners can’t coordinate unless they know precisely which containers need to be moved when.
The standards for service steps in the port would make it easier to determine when a container was behind schedule and expediting was needed to meet the level of service guaranteed.
Of course, the standards proposed by DCSA need to be tried out by ports, and the system needs to be tweaked based on what they find. But it’s a good start.