Jan 25, 2021

ASCM welcomes Joe Biden’s supply chain executive order

Rhys Thomas
2 min
The Association for Supply Chain Management “applauds” Biden administration’s plans for pandemic-ready supply chain
The Association for Supply Chain Management “applauds” Biden administration’s plans for pandemic-ready supply chain...

The Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) has welcomed the executive order on a sustainable US health supply chain, signed by newly elected US President Joe Biden during his first week in office. 

“We are grateful the new administration has put in place a plan to design, build and sustain a long-term capability to manufacture supplies for future pandemics and threats,” the ASCM said in a statement responding to the new order, signed on 21 January. 

"Similar to how our healthcare professionals are consulted to make decisions about the composition of the vaccines, it is the supply chain professionals who can determine the best way to distribute the vaccines, which includes managing the supplies needed to address PPE shortages,” the non-profit organisation added. 

"As we've seen it's very difficult to address this pandemic on a city-by-city, state-by-state basis. We applaud this executive order calling to maximise public-private partnerships among government, healthcare, manufacturing and supply chain/logistics professionals to work together." 

What is the executive order? 

The Executive Order on a Sustainable Public Health Supply Chain calls for “immediate actions to secure supplies necessary for responding to the pandemic”, and outlines three major points of focus. 

Immediate Inventory of Response Supplies and Identification of Emergency Needs: A general review of critical supplies and PPE needed to respond to the outbreak and, where necessary, analysis of measures to address shortfalls or gaps in the abilities of federal agencies to provide and distribute these resources. 

Pricing: A probe is to be launched determining whether access to scarce supplies or vital materials is at threat due to hoarding or price gouging practices. It is a direct enquiry into the efficacy of the Preventing Hoarding of Health and Medical Resources To Respond to the Spread of COVID-19 executive order signed last March. 

Pandemic Supply Chain Resilience Strategy: the President has mandated the development of a multi-department strategy to “design, build, and sustain a long-term capability in the United States to manufacture supplies for future pandemics and biological threat”. It is to be delivered within 180 days. 

The executive order will also review access to the Strategic National Stockpile for recognised Tribal governments and health authorities. 

Biden backs supply chain

Joe Biden pledged to champion US supply chain and enact sweeping change to shield it from risk and aid in the development of a longterm sustainability strategy. The new administration is expected to undertake a comprehensive review of the supply chain and work with the private sector to identify and address vulnerabilities and “immediately close identified gaps”.

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Jun 16, 2021

Gartner: Women in supply chain at five-year high

3 min
Overall percentage of women working in supply chain has risen, but concerns persist around declining representation in executive leadership

Women now represent a greater percentage of the supply chain workforce than at any other point in at least the past five years, according to a recent Gartner survey. 

The Women in Supply Chain Survey 2021, conducted by Gartner and Awesome, surveyed 223 supply chain organisations with more than $100m in annual revenue from February through to the end of March 2021.

Key takeaways 

  • Women represent 2% more of supply chain workforce than in 2020
  • Women now account for 42% of the workforce
  • Number of women in exec-level positions declined by 2%
  • Just 15% of top leadership are women (17% in 2020)
  • 84% of organisations say COVID-19 did not impact efforts to advance women

It found that women now represent two per cent more of the supply chain workforce than in 2020, accounting for 42%, compared with 39% last year. Dana Stiffler, Vice President Analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, says the impact of COVID-19 on supply chain was significant, though different to other sectors. 

"Contrary to other industries, supply chain’s mission-criticality during the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many sectors did not reduce their workforce, but rather continued to hire and even faced talent shortages, especially in the product supply chains," she said. "This resulted in many women not only standing their ground in supply chain organisations but increasing their representation in organisations. We also recorded a record number of specific commitments and supply chain-led actions and saw existing programs starting to pay off."

Gartner Women in Supply Chain Survey 2021
Women in Supply Chain Survey 2021


Supply chain still lacks women in executive leadership 

But the elephant in the boardroom remains. Though the figures present a positive step towards greater diversity and gender equality at all levels, the number of women in executive level positions declined by two per cent in the past year. Women represent just 15% of the upper echelons of supply chain leadership. Gartner did however record a rise in women at all other levels of leadership. 

The vast majority (84%) of organisations surveyed said the outbreak had no discernible impact on their ability to retain and advance women. But more than half (54%) admitted that retaining mid-career women was becoming increasingly difficult. A lack of career opportunities was cited as the biggest challenge to this, while other blamed a lack of development opportunities. 

Despite these challenges, companies of all sizes are becoming broadly better at gender diversity. Around a third more said they had a targeted initiative focused on attracting women and advancing their careers. 

Stiffler said a push towards measurable and formal initiatives is at least pointing in the right direction: “It's encouraging to see that the larger share of this jump was for more formal targets and specific goals on management scorecards. For these respondents, there is greater accountability for results — and we see the correlation with stronger representation and inclusion showing up in pipelines.” 

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