A Platform to Restore Supply Chain Competitiveness and Resiliency
Supply chains are inseparable from the policies and government actions that shape them. It’s time to Deliver America.
Access to essentials — from food and beverages to household and personal care products — depends on a complicated supply chain. Supply chains keep factories running, freight moving and store shelves stocked. Without robust, resilient supply chains, the U.S. economy would grind to a halt.
The Consumer Brands Association represents consumer packaged goods companies that make the essential products that proved critical to Americans’ ability to stay home during the pandemic and stop the spread of COVID-19. The demands of the COVID-19 crisis have spotlighted the importance and vulnerability of America’s supply chains along with opportunities to strengthen them to meet consumer needs.
Despite how COVID-19 has clarified their critical nature, America’s supply chains rarely receive attention in Washington or state capitals across the country — imperiling the availability, affordability and accessibility of household necessities. When they do receive attention, the federal government’s approach is often uncoordinated, siloed and haphazard. That approach weakens supply chain performance, undermines U.S. ability to compete with global economic rivals, makes it difficult to quickly respond in times of crisis and fails to effectively deliver for American consumers.
It is time for a holistic review of the American supply chain. All stakeholders — public, private and nonprofit — must come together to develop a national strategy to strengthen resilience, competitiveness, preparedness and sustainability in the nation’s supply chains.
Here are the most critical components required to make meaningful change.
Empower the federal government to strengthen supply chains.
- Establish an inter-agency office of supply chain to break down silos and compete globally.
- Map vulnerabilities and create a performance-monitoring dashboard.
- Establish a congressional commission on critical supply chains to assess legislative options to strengthen supply chains.
- Ensure that recent critical supply chain executive orders cover the full spectrum of essential everyday products.
- Elevate and leverage existing government assets like the Commerce Department’s Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness.
- Evolve government policy, funding and financing – from agriculture to infrastructure and trade to cybersecurity – to meet present and future supply chain objectives in order to guarantee the availability, affordability and accessibility of critical goods and services.
Strengthen the supply chain workforce and talent pipeline.
- Launch a new workforce partnership to advance education, apprenticeships and support of skilled trades and supply chain professions.
- Adopt the Critical Infrastructure Supply Chain Council’s post-pandemic recommendations, including credentialing for essential workers, strengthening guidance from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and creating a formal DHS-CISA working group with the National Governors Association.
- Facilitate the return to work by ensuring adequate state flexibility in unemployment and assistance programs, updating guidance and protocols to reflect a vaccinated workforce and enhancing child care and family support programs.
- Pass legislation supporting education tax credits, public-private job initiatives and targeted visa reforms to secure the next generation of talent.
Enhance U.S. manufacturing and supply chain competitiveness for essential products.
- Spearhead a national initiative to strengthen domestic manufacturing and to develop policies in coordination with private sector leaders that spur supply chain investment and enhance competitiveness.
- Fund rural broadband expansion and strengthen other non-transportation infrastructure across the United States, especially for clean water and electricity.
- Establish a new tax tool that encourages companies to invest in domestic manufacturing and supply chain capacity.
- Assess the impact of U.S. tax and regulatory policy on manufacturing competitiveness and consumer costs for essential products.
- Safeguard America’s critical manufacturing and supply chain infrastructure with new cybersecurity initiatives and public-private partnerships to combat emerging threats.
Rethink infrastructure funding.
- Pass comprehensive, bipartisan infrastructure legislation with a long-term user fee funding mechanism that targets projects of national economic and strategic importance.
- Infuse “fix-it-first” and “right-size” mentality into legislation, program design and Department of Transportation guidance, prioritizing highway funding formula dollars for maintenance to cut repair backlogs.
- Focus on freight bottlenecks with funding from increases to the National Highway Freight Program of at least $2 billion annually and the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program of at least $1.5 billion.
- Think in terms of comprehensive performance rather than mode-based programs to reduce congestion, promote quality of life and deliver on consumer and market demands.
- Expand performance assessment and transparency disclosure requirements for infrastructure funding, tying investment to measurable outcomes.
Create a technology-driven, people-focused transportation system.
- Oversee the development of a new “truck air traffic control” data tool to enable real-time visibility of available capacity and connectivity across shippers, truckers and receivers.
- Annually assess how the national infrastructure affects Americans’ access to essential goods, services and activities, collecting data on how well the transportation system connects people to what they need.
- Fast-track the deployment of autonomous vehicles, drones, Hyperloop and other emerging technologies by finalizing policy frameworks and shifting gears to accelerate pilot research.
- Establish a national autonomous vehicle clearinghouse to research the impact of highly automated vehicles and mobility innovation on land use, urban design, transportation, real estate, accessibility, municipal budgets, social equity and the environment.
Design infrastructure for just-in-time logistics.
- Amplify and simplify investment in U.S. ports, freight rail and other intermodal and multimodal projects that expedite the movement of people, goods and services.
- Expand national truck parking availability to promote safety and efficiency.
- Modernize the Shipping Act and advance Federal Maritime Commission reforms to address issues including carrier consolidation, port backlogs and container scarcity.
- Boost funding for freight and urban delivery research as well as state and municipal planning efforts and a biennial update to the National Freight Strategic Plan.
Promote zero-carbon transport.
- Reform truck size and weight rules and establish incentives to increase fleet efficiency and modernization.
- Improve freight rail and inland waterway performance to help meet sustainable transportation goals and diversify shipping modes.
- Expand investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and development of commercial duty alternative fuel vehicles.
- Establish a sustainable freight task force with shippers and carriers to develop a joint industry and policy roadmap to reduce environmental impact.
Policymaking must anticipate where the world is going, not where it is, to build a better system together.
As the representative of America’s major CPG manufacturers, Consumer Brands possesses unique insight into how to strengthen America’s supply chains and build resiliency.
Our recommendations for a national strategy call for clear federal leadership, coordinated government action and forward-looking public policy. They promote industry innovation, robust public and private investment, higher standards for social and environmental impact, and a strong, vibrant supply chain workforce.
The CPG industry accounts for one-fifth of all freight shipping in the United States.
Our industry is a key stakeholder – and expert voice – on supply chain issues. The Consumer Brands Association works to remove barriers to providing American consumers the affordable products they rely on every day.
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