Tech giant International Business Machines (IBM) has called on the government to establish a shared service center of excellence to develop protections against supply chain disruptions, according to a recent report it released in collaboration with experts from government, business, academia, and the nonprofit sectors.

Thirty-eight percent of global CEOs reported that supply chain disruption is one of their greatest challenges, IBM’s report says.

“During the last three years, a perfect storm of natural and geopolitical events has disrupted worldwide supply chains in ways that few governments could have anticipated,” the report states. “Even as nations, businesses, and consumers strive to normalize, new interruptions have created bottlenecks in an enormously complicated and interconnected system of purchasing, operation, distribution, integration, and consumption.”

“And now, the impact of supply chain disruptions on national economies and social systems is driving government leaders to also put a top priority on building supply chain resiliency,” it adds.

The IBM Center for The Business of Government, the IBM Institute for Business Value, the National Academy of Public Administration, and the American Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands jointly sponsored roundtable discussions for the company’s new report, “Preparing for Future Shocks: Modernizing Supply Chains.”

During the roundtables, a myriad of experts recommended that the government take four steps:

  • Create a shared service approach to build supply chain resiliency;
  • Diagnose the acquisition ecosystem;
  • Apply design thinking to develop key supply chain components; and
  • Sustain supply chains through risk mitigation and private-sector partnerships.

“By taking advantage of synergies between agencies and industry partners, a government-led shared service center of excellence can foster public-private collaboration to diagnose, design, and sustain supply chains to build resiliency,” the group said.

After establishing these supply chain risk management organizations, governments should have centralized resources to diagnose threats, design responses, sustain supply chains, and mitigate disruptions by building supply chain immunity, the report says.

“Governments are responsible to broad constituencies for building supply chain immunity, and a shared services center of excellence provides a practical structure to manage this responsibility,” the report concludes. “Such a strategy would integrate the expertise of government agencies with private-sector business acumen. It also provides the flexibility to anticipate and respond to continuously changing supply chain disruptions. Recommendations put forth at these roundtables provide a useful playbook to this approach and can bring insight to governments around the world as they prepare for the supply chain shocks of the future.”

One Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) official recently announced that that CISA plans to help agencies, industry, and other partners operationalize and better understand supply chain security requirements through a new training initiative that will be released in the new fiscal year beginning in October, as well as a centralized information hub that will be available next calendar year.

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.