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8 SMT007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2021 Nolan's Notes by Nolan Johnson, I-CONNECT007 Driving Cost Out of the Supply Chain It was just another Monday. We were in the midst of our weekly editorial team meeting and brainstorming upcoming topics for mag- azines. Our typical process begins with an open discussion about what's happening in the industry, what each member of the team sees as newsworthy, and what we're hearing as we talk with industry col- leagues. It's a dynamic, organic start to what later becomes a sys- temized pro ce s s f or creating , gather ing , editing, and publishing relevant content. O n t h i s p a r t i c u - lar morning, the con- ver sation grav itated toward supply chain. What was a low-grade, o n g o i n g c o n v e r s a - tion in our industry, we now realize, was also a low-grade conver- sation in other industries as well. Sure, we'd reported on parts shortages and supply chain in late 2019 and early 2020. Yet, the situation has continued to evolve. Supply chain issues have become mainstream news as virtually all supply chains were affected in some manner by the pandemic lockdowns. e interactions of supply, demand, and distribution became a topic of scrutiny even for my 80-something par- ents; we all became experts at understanding supply chain when we had to explain exactly why toilet paper was peculiarly absent from store shelves, while there was plenty of liquor still available. e vagaries of the distribution chain for all sorts of daily necessities suddenly became our concern; we no longer could take the supply chain for granted. Ye s, I k now, s ome r e a d e r s a r e s h a k i n g their heads at our "First World problems." It was interesting, though, to watch friends and fam- ily shi from complain- ing about the incon- venience to asking the question, "How exactly does the supply chain work, and why did this happen?" As time went on, the initial crises in the sup- ply chain began to resolve itself, only to be replaced by other issues. For example, toi- let paper found a steady, if reduced, delivery schedule, but as some parts of the world re- opened and exports started to ship out, not all the destination ports were ready to receive. From that, the world learned a bit more about how goods are transported across the globe to international markets.

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