The Need for Rethinking Supply Chains and Safety Standards in Critical Industries

Ben H.

Hatched by Ben H.

Jun 30, 2023

4 min read


The Need for Rethinking Supply Chains and Safety Standards in Critical Industries


In recent years, two critical industries have faced major challenges that have highlighted the need for reevaluating supply chains and safety standards. The first industry is the automotive sector, specifically the electric car market, which has brought to light the inadequacy of current brake light regulations. The second industry is healthcare, where drug shortages have become a persistent problem, jeopardizing patient safety and limiting access to care. By examining these two issues, we can identify common points and gain insights into the broader need for rethinking supply chains and safety standards in critical industries.

Electric Cars and Brake Light Regulations:

Under the current Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, brake lights are required to be steady-burning and activated upon application of the service brakes. However, this standard fails to account for regenerative braking systems used in electric vehicles. These systems allow electric cars to come to complete and abrupt stops without the need for traditional friction-based braking. As a result, brake lights are not required to illuminate when regenerative braking is used, creating a potential safety hazard.

The issue with brake light regulations reveals the need to update safety standards to keep pace with technological advancements. As electric cars become increasingly common on the roads, it is crucial to ensure that safety regulations are comprehensive and adaptable.

Drug Shortages in Healthcare:

The healthcare industry has been grappling with drug shortages for years, particularly in the field of chemotherapy treatments. Healthcare providers have had to ration doses and delay care due to the scarcity of essential medications. The pharmaceutical supply chain is complex, with numerous suppliers, subcontractors, and middlemen involved. This lack of transparency makes it difficult for health systems to anticipate and address supply issues effectively.

Furthermore, the current system allows for limited insight into production capacity and reasons for shortages. Advocacy groups have called for increased transparency, but it is essential to recognize that transparency alone cannot solve the core problem of a lack of supply for critical drugs. The supply-demand imbalance, coupled with the intricate distribution network, necessitates a fundamental reevaluation of the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Common Points and Insights:

Both the automotive and healthcare industries face challenges that highlight the need for rethinking supply chains and safety standards. In both cases, outdated regulations and a lack of transparency have contributed to the problems at hand.

The automotive industry's brake light regulations fail to account for the advancements in electric vehicle technology, potentially compromising safety. Similarly, the pharmaceutical supply chain's complexity and lack of transparency have resulted in drug shortages that can jeopardize patient safety and limit access to care.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Update Safety Standards: Regulatory bodies need to review and update safety standards to account for technological advancements. This includes revisiting brake light regulations for electric vehicles and ensuring they adequately address the unique braking systems used in these vehicles.
  • 2. Enhance Transparency and Collaboration: The pharmaceutical industry should strive for greater transparency in the supply chain. This can be achieved through improved communication and collaboration between manufacturers, suppliers, and healthcare providers. By sharing information on production capacity and potential supply issues, health systems can better manage drug shortages.
  • 3. Diversify Supply Chains: Both industries should consider diversifying their supply chains to reduce reliance on a single source. This can help mitigate the impact of supply disruptions and shortages. Exploring alternative suppliers and building stronger partnerships with reliable manufacturers can contribute to a more resilient supply chain.


The issues faced by the automotive and healthcare industries highlight the urgent need for rethinking supply chains and safety standards in critical sectors. Outdated regulations and a lack of transparency have proven to be major hurdles in ensuring safety and maintaining essential supplies. By updating safety standards, enhancing transparency, and diversifying supply chains, these industries can move towards a more efficient and resilient future. It is crucial for stakeholders and regulatory bodies to prioritize these changes to protect public safety and improve the overall quality of care and products in these sectors.

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