Supply Chain Policy

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RAND Social and Economic Well-Being conducts research that helps the public and private sectors address issues critical to the supply chains that drive the U.S., North American, and international economies, with a special emphasis on freight transportation.

The transportation and global logistics industries have problems of enormous complexity that are solvable through research and development, yet analysis has not been a high priority in these fields. RAND is known for high-quality research in support of public policy and has a long history of conducting analysis that is both independent and guided by the concerns of its business partners.

  • Processor pins of a microchip

    Oct 16, 2018

    Examining the Weak Spots in Tech's Supply Chain Armor

    When an attack on the supply chain occurs, manufacturers and purchasers should be better positioned to respond and recover. Even the simplest devices can rely on parts from multiple suppliers, which may have their own suppliers and so on. But every supplier, no matter how small, represents a potential weak link in the chain.

RAND provides analysis in four areas to support long-term strategic decision-making:

  • Evaluating and forecasting the economic effects of supply chain disruptions and shifting trade patterns.
  • Identifying physical, operational, regulatory, and legal vulnerabilities to the performance of the freight transport system.
  • Formulating and assessing short and long term measures and implementation strategies available to the public and private sectors to improve the performance of the freight transport system.
  • Assessing opportunities for advanced technologies to play a role in addressing critical issues, such as security, enhanced productivity, and environmental mitigation.


  • Evaluating the Impact of Whole-Body Vibration (WBV) on Fatigue and the Implications for Driver Safety 2015

    Summarizes the findings from RAND's review of the literature on whole-body vibration (WBV) and fatigue and also considers appropriate study designs and methodologies to inform new areas of research focused on the impact of WBV on fatigue with the goal of improving the safety of truck drivers. Identifies 24 studies examining the impact of WBV on fatigue or sleepiness. Recommendations for future studies to strengthen the evidence base are included.

  • Identifying and Managing Acquisition and Sustainment Supply Chain Risks 2015

    This document seeks to help the Air Force develop a strategy for managing supply chain risks during weapon system acquisition and sustainment. The authors review the literature on supply chain risk management and report on a series of interviews they conducted within acquisition, sustainment, and commercial communities. They also describe a prototype methodology that the Air Force may wish to use to identify and manage supply chain risks.

  • Improving DLA Supply Chain Agility: Lead Times, Order Quantities, and Information Flow 2015

    The Defense Logistics Agency faces about $1 billion in inventory obsolescence cost each year due primarily to the high dynamism in demand that it faces. This report examines how to mitigate this cost by improving supply chain agility, focusing on reducing lead times, optimizing order quantities, and mitigating the effects of demand shifts through improved customer information flow and utilization.

  • Measuring and Managing Army Supply Chain Risk: A Quantitative Approach by Item Number and Commercial Entity Code 2015

    Army Materiel Command (AMC) executives are concerned that a decrease in orders to suppliers for repair parts could raise the risk that either the suppliers will shift production or fail, potentially disrupting the Army's supply chain. This report presents a process and methodology for determining supply chain risk by repair part, supplier, and weapon system, and the supply chain risk factors that are critical to AMC.

  • Findings from Existing Data on the Department of Defense Industrial Base 2014

    Existing federal data can identify supply base participation of subcontractors, their socioeconomic status, and the vulnerability of contractors and subcontractors to environmental risks and changes in their federal government prime contract and subcontract revenue. This information can help policymakers understand potential risks in the supply chain. Data on natural-disaster risks can also help identify external sources of supply disruption.

  • Risks and Mitigation Options Regarding Use of Foreign Components in U.S. Launch Vehicles 2014

    Testimony presented before a joint hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on July 16, 2014.

  • Road traffic demand elasticities: A rapid evidence assessment 2015

    This study presents findings of a rapid evidence assessment of literature to better understand the factors driving road transport demand for both passengers and freight.

  • Small Business and Strategic Sourcing: Lessons from Past Research and Current Data 2014

    The Department of Defense (DoD) may face challenges as it attempts to maintain its goal of spending about 23 percent of prime-contract dollars for goods and services with small businesses and at the same time apply strategic-sourcing practices to reduce total costs and improve performance and efficiency and in ways that will not conflict with small-business goals.

  • Soldier-Portable Battery Supply: Foreign Dependence and Policy Options 2014

    Batteries are a ubiquitous presence in equipment carried by soldiers. These batteries are acquired through a supply chain driven by commercial applications and predominately based in Asia. RAND found that government and industry representatives of military battery suppliers have concerns associated with this foreign-dependent supply chain. The report discusses alternative policy options to address these concerns.

  • Sourcing and Global Distribution of Medical Supplies 2014

    The Department of Defense provides medical care to service members all over the world and must ensure that health care providers have the proper quantity and quality of medical materiel. RAND investigated opportunities to gain efficiencies in the logistics enterprise without sacrificing capability, notably through minimizing intermediate materiel handling, seeking greater value from commercial freight, and streamlining warehouse operations.