Feb 12, 2021

Monique Picou to deliver Supply Chain Forum keynote

Rhys Thomas
2 min
The former Sam’s Club CSCO will share insight on this year’s theme of Thriving Through Disruption - registration now open
The former Sam’s Club CSCO will share insight on this year’s theme of Thriving Through Disruption - registration now open...

Monique Picou, the former CSCO and SVP of Walmart-owned wholesaler Sam’s Club, has been announced as the keynote speaker for this year’s Supply Chain Forum

Presented by University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics, the two-day, free virtual event will take place 16-17 March - with registration now open

Picou, who recently joined Google as VP of Product, Technology Strategy, and Global Server Operations, will speak on the opening morning of the event with a headline presentation delving into this year’s theme, Thriving Through Disruption. 

She will be joined throughout the two-day, free event by a host of other high profile speakers and industry experts, including Regina Lemgruber, VP of demand planning at Estée Lauder; Nirakio CEO Karin Bursa; and Gatton College’s own Haoying Sun, Director of the Master of Science in Supply Chain Management programme at the college. 

Attendees will also hear from a panel of experts including Tim Engstrom of Essendant, Aimee Peacock of FLEXcon, and Lexmark’s Billy Spears, moderated by Jake Barr, CEO of BlueWorld Supply Chain Consulting. 

Simon Sheather, dean of Gatton College, said:"Beyond the recent focus on global supply chain disruptions, more large and small businesses are making strategic supply chain investments to innovate and stay competitive.” 

Alluding to this year’s theme, the dean added: “There has never been a better time to thrive as supply chain professionals than right now.”

Presentation of the seventh annual Commonwealth Supply Chain Innovation Award, sponsored by SAS Institute Inc., will coincide with the virtual programme. The award honours organisations that have demonstrated operational excellence in supply chain management, and this year's awards will also feature a supply chain hero.

To attend the event and gain insight from this year’s line-up of speakers, register online before 14 March HERE.  

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Jun 9, 2021

Biden establishes Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force

3 min
US government lays out plans for supply chain transformation following results of the supply chain review ordered by President Biden in February

The US government is to establish a new body with the express purpose of addressing imbalances and other supply chain concerns highlighted in a review of the sector, ordered by President Joe Biden shortly after his inauguration. 

The Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force will “focus on areas where a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident,” the White House said. The division will be headed up by the Secretaries of Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture, and will focus on housing construction, transportation, agriculture and food, and semiconductors - a drastic shortage of which has hit some of the US economy’s biggest industries in consumer technology and vehicle manufacturing. 

“The Task Force will bring the full capacity of the federal government to address near-term supply/demand mismatches. It will convene stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions - large and small, public or private - that could help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints,” the White House said. 

In late February, President Biden ordered a 100 day review of the supply chain across the key areas of medicine, raw materials and agriculture, the findings of which were released this week. While the COVID-19 health crisis had a deleterious effect on the nation’s supply chain, the published assessment of findings says the root cause runs much deeper. The review concludes that “decades of underinvestment”, alongside public policy choices that favour quarterly results and short-term solutions, have left the system “fragile”. 

In response, the administration aims to address four key issues head on, strengthening its position in health and medicine, sustainable and alternative energy, critical mineral mining and processing, and computer chips. 

Support domestic production of critical medicines


  • A syndicate of public and private entities will jointly work towards manufacturing and onshoring of essential medical suppliers, beginning with a list of 50-100 “critical drugs” defined by the Food and Drug Administration. 
  • The consortium will be led by the Department of Health and Human Services, which will commit an initial $60m towards the development of a “novel platform technologies to increase domestic manufacturing capacity for API”. 
  • The aim is to increase domestic production and reduce the reliance upon global supply chains, particularly with regards to medications in short supply.

Secure an end-to-end domestic supply chain for advanced batteries


  • The Department of Energy will publish a ‘National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries’, beginning a 10 year plan to "develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain that combats the climate crisis by creating good-paying clean energy jobs across America”. 
  • The effort will leverage billions in funding “to finance key strategic areas of development and fill deficits in the domestic supply chain capacity”. 

Invest in sustainable domestic and international production and processing of critical minerals


  • An interdepartmental group will be established by the Department of Interior to identify sites where critical minerals can be produced and processed within US borders. It will collaborate with businesses, states, tribal nations and stockholders to “expand sustainable, responsible critical minerals production and processing in the United States”. 
  • The group will also identify where regulations may need to be updated to ensure new mining and processing “meets strong standards”.

Partner with industry, allies, and partners to address semiconductor shortages


  • The Department of Commerce will increase its partnership with industry to support further investment in R&D and production of semiconductor chips. The White House says its aim will be to “facilitate information flow between semiconductor producers and suppliers and end-users”, improving transparency and data sharing. 
  • Enhanced relationships with foreign allies, including Japan and South Korea will also be strengthened with the express proposed of increasing chip output, promoting further investment in the sector and “to promote fair semiconductor chip allocations”. 

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