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Protean Supply Chains: Ten Dynamics of Supply and Demand Alignment by James A. Cooke

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CHAPTER 1Supply Chain Synchronization

Since the Great Recession, the United States remains stuck in a jobless recovery. The same holds true for many other parts of the world. The U.S. economy is witnessing a profit recovery. Stocks have soared on Wall Street due to strong corporate profits, while unemployment in the United States has stayed stubbornly high above traditional norms. Although U.S. unemployment had dropped from its peak of 10% in October 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics still had the unemployment rate around 7% in late 2013. And it is not just the United States that is wrestling with joblessness. Unemployment remains high in other parts of the world as well. The 17-member Eurozone had unemployment rates above 12% in 2013.

This condition has been dubbed “the New Normal economy,” a term coined by William Gross, the founder of the global investment firm Pacific Investment Management (PIMCO), back in 2009. Gross used the term to describe a lackluster economy he predicted would occur for a decade, an economy that would witness high unemployment and a reduced standard of living for Americans as well as most other citizens around the globe.

One of the reasons behind the continued high employment rate, ignored by both economists and the media pundits, is the impact of supply chains on business efficiency that has resulted in strong corporate earnings. Companies have moved closer to achieving supply chain synchronization, although it should be noted they still have a long ...

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