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When the Ever Given container ship choked off traffic in the Suez Canal for almost a week in late March 2021, it made big headlines around the world.

The price of oil rose, and companies fretted as hundreds of ships carrying everything from coffee and cattle to toys and furniture were delayed. Experts estimated that every hour traffic remained stuck cost the global economy over US$400 million in lost trade.

Yet many people I spoke with, including students and professional colleagues, didn’t seem to have a clue about what was happening, why it mattered or how it affects them.

As a supply chain expert, I was truly surprised. If nothing else, the COVID-19 pandemic should have made it abundantly clear how easily a disruption in the supply chain or a sudden increase in demand for a product can lead to empty grocery store shelves and other problems that might directly affect you.

Without a change of course, I expect this problem to only get worse.


About the Author:

Nada Sanders

Nada R. Sanders is an internationally recognized expert in forecasting, enterprise digital transformation, and global supply chain intelligence. She is Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management at Northeastern University, Fellow of the Decision Sciences Institute (DSI) and President of the Production & Operations Management Society (POMS). She is author of the books The Humachine (Routledge 2019); Operations Management 7th ed (Wiley 2020); Foundations of Sustainable Business, 2nd ed (Wiley 2019); Supply Chain Analytics (Prospect Press 2018); Supply Chain Management, 3rd ed (Wiley 2020).



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