May 2020 Archive

May 15, 2020
Dozens of coronavirus drugs are in development — what happens next? (Nature)

Drug manufacturers face supply-chain weaknesses and sourcing issues as they ramp up complex production processes to meet global demand.
“Over the past two decades, manufacturers in many different industries have been shifting to a ‘lean’ manufacturing model that reduces the amount of raw materials and finished product they keep in stock. “This was successful in terms of reducing costs,” Simchi-Levi says. “But it increased exposure to risk.”

May 13, 2020
The global food supply chain is passing a severe test (Economist)

The unsung star of 21st-century logistics is the global food system. From field to fork, it accounts for 10% of world gdp and employs perhaps 1.5bn people. The global supply of food has nearly tripled since 1970, as the population has doubled to 7.7bn. At the same time, the number of people who have too little to eat has fallen from 36% of the population to 11%, and a bushel of maize or cut of beef costs less today than 50 years ago in real terms. Food exports have grown sixfold over the past 30 years; four-fifths of people live in part on calories produced in another country. This happens in spite of governments, not because of them. Although their role has declined, they still sometimes fix prices and control distribution.