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“The supply chain, and nothing but the supply chain”, Ali Shehab, President at Cimteq

Ali Shehab

Every problem has two sides. A detrimental side that hurts, and the learning side that heals. The learning side has longevity beyond the detrimental horizon of the original problem. If you like, it’s kind of an intellectual immunity society develops.

From my personal experience, having lived through two wars, a couple of financial crises, and now a pandemic, the first priority in these situations is the security of the supply chain to stop a problem becoming a disaster.

Clearly, the shorter the supply chain is, the safer it is.

Let’s take shortening the energy supply chain as an example. This includes local renewable generation, like wind farms and solar panel fields, and local micro generation, like rooftop energy generation, and combined heat and electricity biomass generation.

The principle of shortening the supply chain applies to all forms of production from food production to water purification. Local self-sufficiency has other important impacts too. For example, reduction of cost, reduction of lead time and enormous saving of resources. The shorter the supply chain, the less energy we will use, the less packaging we will need and the more social cohesion we will have, since every person becomes a stakeholder in their locality.

It is staggering that there are still major cities on earth that do not have drinkable tap water. People rely on bottled water to survive. Apart from the plastic problem, it takes two thousand times the energy to produce bottled water than to produce tap water, taking into account the bottle production and transportation. Imagine the saving and the supply chain security we will have by having local purifying and desalination plants. There is evidence that suggests it is possible. Cruise ships purify enough water for the consumption of thousands of people.

Of course, as a cable man, I always think in terms of cable demand. Distributing the means of production will require an increase of energy connectivity and communication. An increase in local energy generation will require enormous amount of cable, and not just for power. Having locally available cheap energy will in turn lead to an acceleration in the adoption of electric transportation, from cars and busses, to bicycles and trains. It is a good time to be a cable manufacturer. This was proven by the energy crisis in the US in early 2000s, which led to major increase in demand for cable. The need to secure supply chains now will lead to a jump in demand for cables globally.

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