The supply chains of the 21st century provide both the source and the potential solution to many of the risks and concerns that are inherent in a global economy. Extended networks of interrelated trading partners contribute—inadvertently or sometimes deliberately—to the elements of increasing risk to our society, the products we use, and the infrastructures we rely on. This situation impacts our safety and security and costs untold billions each year.
Our so-called global trading partners, in many cases, are introducing bio and cyber ‘germs’ into our products and systems. It is not just the product itself but, according to the Philippine Legal, Information, and Compliance Division, ‘deliberately’ and ‘fraudulently’ mislabeling products with respect to identity and/or source or with fake packaging, applied to both branded and generic products.
The last decade has seen an increase in the level of counterfeits and piracy leading to product integrity issues from low-cost country sources and trading partners. The critical necessity of understanding each of the processes— and players—and ensuring universal compliance with quality, security, and product protection standards is daunting. It is not likely to be embraced by our newer trading partners for decades. The Pandora’s Box of open trade in many cases encourages predatory behavior, with illicit trade networks acting as a conduit for diverted and counterfeit products as well as trafficking in human beings. Sadly, both criminals and terrorists have become global masters of supply chain management and have leveraged both IT and logistics networks to manage global crime networks.