Global Supply Chain: The Invisible Network

March 25, 2015

the Gulhilde Maersk container ship arriving at Yantian Port in China

For something that functions as such a foundation to business success, supply chain management can be almost invisible within an organization. Recently, BBC’s Tim Maughun reported on the vast and dazzling supply chain network that keeps the world running smoothly, with insightful and compelling commentary:

“It’s been just over 45 years since the Apollo Moon landings, and some would have it that we are failing to build big anymore; that we’ve since become too fascinated with the small, too impressed by our tablet computers, games consoles, and smartphones that we don’t invest in grand, world-changing engineering projects.

Stand on the bridge of a container ship docked in a mega-port in Korea, however, and it’s clear that’s just not true. The global supply chain that brings us those tablets and phones, and pretty much everything else from our clothes and food to our toys and souvenirs, is nothing short of a moon shot itselfa vast, unprecedented engineering solution to a truly astronomical logistics problem. The fact that it’s hidden from most people’s sight, and that it has become so utterly reliable and efficient to the point of transparency, doesn’t make it any less of an achievement of human technical endeavour…”

Read more about Tim’s rare voyage on a container ship between Korea and China, where he traces the intricate routes many global consumer goods take through mega-ports and across oceans before finding their way to our markets here in North America. These supply chain feats may look more like science fiction, but it’s all too real—and shockingly impressive.

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