Supply Chain Management

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A supply chain is the network of organizations—be they military, government, or private sector—involved in creating and delivering a product or service to a customer or consumer. RAND research on the management of supply chains has focused on both the efficiency and the security of civilian and military supply chains, with reports covering freight modernization, rail capacity and security, fuel taxes, and container inspection at ports.

  • An employee works on final assembly of ventilators at Ventec Life Systems, in Bothell, Washington, March 18, 2020, photo by Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

    Commentary

    Supply Chains and National Security

    May 11, 2021

    The many pandemic-related shortages that occurred in the United States and elsewhere provide a clear warning. Serious supply-chain vulnerabilities exist. We need to learn much more about this potential threat to national security.

  • The SolarWinds logo is seen outside its headquarters in Austin, Texas, December 18, 2020, photo by Sergio Flores/Reuters

    Commentary

    Unconventional Supply Network Operations: A New Frontier in Global Competition

    Apr 19, 2021

    The technological advances of recent decades that have made supply networks drastically more efficient, valuable, and essential to every element of our daily lives have also created a highly interdependent, largely unsecured portfolio of potential attack surfaces.

Explore Supply Chain Management

  • Container ships wait off the coast of the congested Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in Long Beach, California, October 1, 2021, photo by Alan Devall/Reuters

    Testimony

    Considering Supply Chain Resiliency

    The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the fragility of global supply chains. And the SolarWinds hack showed how the scope of a supply chain should be interpreted more broadly to reflect dependencies on software. How can the United States increase supply chain resiliency?

    Oct 14, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Challenges and barriers that limit the productivity and competitiveness of UK defence supply chains

    Small and medium-sized companies attempting to enter and operate in the UK's defence market face several barriers that can limit productivity of defence supply chains. Addressing these challenges is key to improving productivity and competitiveness.

    Jul 6, 2021

  • Blog

    RAND Art + Data, 'Gray Market Care,' Supply Chains and Cyberattacks: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on RAND's new artist residency program, Art + Data; the prevalence of “gray market care” in the United States; supply chains' cyber problem; and more.

    Jun 25, 2021

  • Gasoline tankers pass by Colonial Pipeline storage tanks in Austell, Georgia, May 10, 2021, photo by John Spink/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS/ABACAPRESS.COM

    Commentary

    Supply Chains Have a Cyber Problem

    We are entering a world in which cyber disruptions easily become supply chain disruptions, and where supply chains for hardware and software create new cyber risks. Managing these will demand digital-era solutions, including updating tools, regulations, and reporting requirements.

    Jun 22, 2021

  • North Carolina Air National Guard Airman Staff Sgt. Jay Benton transports equipment with a fork-lift at a warehouse in western North Carolina, June 18, 2020, photo by Sgt. Marcel Pugh/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    Military and Defense-Related Supply Chains

    After the Cold War, U.S. logistics planners moved away from a focus on effectiveness to a focus on efficiency in the sense that little is left idle for significant periods and that commodities are delivered at minimum cost. The ability of the system to support the joint force in the event of major conflict is at best untested and could be problematic.

    Jun 22, 2021

  • A person getting a COVID-19 vaccine in Santiago de Chile, Chile, on August 25, 2020, photo by Rodrigo Balladares/Handout/Reuters

    Commentary

    Thinking Through Rapid and Scalable Rollout of Healthcare Innovations for Public Health Challenges

    The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that rapid innovation in the face of public health emergencies is possible. In only 15 months, 15 vaccines have been approved or authorized for use in various parts of the world. What thinking is required to support uniform rapid rollout for future public health emergencies?

    Jun 14, 2021

  • Margaret Keenan, 90, receives Britain's first Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccination at University Hospital in Coventry, UK, December 8, 2020, photo by Jacob King/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Pivotal Role of Remote Working in the Journey to Jab the Nation

    Pulling the UK COVID-19 vaccination program together was an immense logistical and technical effort. Had it not been for the working practices mandated by the lockdown, it would have been even more difficult. What changed over the pandemic to allow this to happen?

    May 13, 2021

  • Blog

    COVID-19 Demographic Trends, Vaccinating 'High-Contact' People, the Iran Threat Network: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how the pandemic is shaping demographic trends, targeting vaccines to "high-contact" people, the Iran Threat Network, and more.

    Apr 16, 2021

  • Employees assemble ventilator components behind a plastic curtain at a GE Healthcare manufacturing facility in Madison, Wisconsin, April 21, 2020, photo by Daniel Acker/Reuters

    Commentary

    Supply Chains and National Security

    Lessons from the pandemic will be sorted through for years. But one thing seems very clear: The United States is not ready in a policy or infrastructure or even physical-capacity sense to respond to major shocks to its supply chains.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • Nurse Nicole McCurrach draws up COVID-19 vaccinations at Richmond raceway in Richmond, Virginia, March 4, 2021, photo by Julia Rendleman/Reuters

    Commentary

    Target Vaccine to 'High-Contact' People

    Actively seeking out people with lots of contacts for vaccination could bring the epidemic under control much more quickly than vaccinating people at random. Vaccinating just 15 percent of the population would be enough to crush the epidemic—so long as it was the right 15 percent.

    Apr 9, 2021

  • People wait in line in a Disneyland parking lot to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site in Anaheim, California, January 13, 2021, photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Game Theory Could Solve the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Puzzle

    The health systems behind the vaccine rollout are attempting to create order from chaos, sometimes with mixed results. Rather than relying on on-the-fly decisionmaking, state authorities should consider turning to game theory as a tool that could be the key to more efficient, faster vaccine distribution.

    Mar 11, 2021

  • A digital image of the globe with red point-to-point paths

    Report

    Managing Risk in Globalized Supply Chains

    This report addresses the challenges the U.S. Air Force faces in mitigating the risks associated with an increasingly globalized weapon supply chain and suggests ways to improve how it addresses such risks.

    Feb 5, 2021

  • Nurses prepare to vaccinate people at a drive-through COVID-19 vaccination site in Detroit, Michigan, January 15, 2021, photo by Emily Elconin/Reuters

    Commentary

    Keep the Vaccine Moving to Save the Most Lives

    The United States is waiting to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and millions of doses wait for arms. Policymakers at the national, state, and local levels have been stockpiling the shots for many reasons. While supply ramps up, policymakers could push to deliver vaccine to people instead of freezers.

    Jan 19, 2021

  • COVID-19 vaccine in a medical syringes at IU Health Bloomington, in Bloomington, Indiana, December 18, 2020, photo by Jeremy Hogan / SOPA Images/Sipa USA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Getting COVID-19 Vaccines to Pennsylvania Residents

    Pennsylvania state and county health departments have a number of options that could speed the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to make sure Pennsylvania residents at high risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes are vaccinated as soon as possible.

    Jan 19, 2021

  • A C-17 from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, sits on the ramp here while food and cold weather supplies prepare to be loaded onto another C-17 (not pictured) from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, Feb. 8., photo by Senior Airman Jeremy McGuffin/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Analysis of Global Management of Air Force War Reserve Materiel to Support Operations in Contested and Degraded Environments

    The Air Force's current system of war reserve materiel management is positioned more for efficiency than effectiveness. What do case studies reveal about the trade-offs and best practices for a centralized versus decentralized management approach?

    Jan 14, 2021

  • COVID-19 vaccination stations inside Hillcrest High School, a designated New York City priority vaccination center for people in group 1B, in Queens, NY, January 11, 2021, photo by Anthony Behar/Reuters

    Commentary

    COVID-19 Options for 2021

    The disorganized public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States helped ensure that the nation led the world in infections nearly from the beginning of the pandemic. With vaccines now becoming available, are we over the problem? Not necessarily.

    Jan 12, 2021

  • The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is administered during a drive through event at InclusivCare in Avondale, Louisiana, January 9, 2021 photo by Kathleen Flynn/Reuters

    Blog

    As the Vaccines Arrive, So Do the Questions

    As the first COVID-19 vaccines are being administered across the United States, countless questions have arisen about what comes next. Is one vaccine better than another? Can the United States both speed up inoculation and overcome some people's hesitance to get the shot? RAND experts offer insights into the historic vaccine rollout.

    Jan 11, 2021

  • Healthcare workers take part in a rehearsal for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, Indiana, December 11, 2020, photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

    Commentary

    COVID-19 Vaccination: Expect the Unexpected

    With emergency use authorization for the first COVID-19 vaccine now in place, states and localities have turned their focus to the logistics of dispensing it as quickly as feasible. Still, uncertainties abound. It is essential to build a process of learning into the plan.

    Dec 15, 2020