Supply Chain of Freedom

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War. It’s not a pleasant topic to talk about in any situation, and even less so when we’re in the middle of one. And yet, for reasons which have much to do with defining the American psyche, the cold reality of war historically has galvanized manufacturing and logistics efforts like nothing else. In the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, when air transportation was temporarily suspended and the borders to Canada and Mexico were drastically tightened, U.S. companies had a brief glimpse of what a truly all-American supply chain looks like—and in some cases, it wasn’t very pretty. The national media was quick to point out how lean manufacturing and just-in-time inventory strategies broke down when the parts you needed couldn’t be delivered anywhere near as soon as you needed them. Maybe, the pundits suggested, keeping buffer inventory on hand isn’t such a bad idea after all.

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