When Panjiva was founded, we could not have foreseen last summer’s storm of high-profile product recalls and the heightened concern for import safety. However, we were not surprised either. With an ever-increasing volume of imports and very little quality information available, America’s supply chain was susceptible. A year later, product safety concernss remain ever present in American media and political discourse. Congress is currently considering legislation to increase the funding and mandate for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Earlier this month, the New York Times ran an editorial entitled “The Next Step to Safety” that wisely asserted how “strengthening the safety laws should give consumers confidence that what is on sale is safe enough to use.”
In response to public outcry and media attention, a Working Group on Import Safety was created last summer by executive order of the President. This multi-agency initiative was charged with recommending actions to help government ensure the safety of imported goods.
Although Panjiva’s primary role is to serve the private sector by providing a revolutionary, objective data to inform global trade, we realize that the challenges of improving import safety can only be met by the government and private sector working together. It is this realization that led to our collaboration with the Working Group on Import Safety. Given our expertise, Josh Green, Panjiva’s co-founder and CEO, testified at an open meeting of the Working Group, and Panjiva submitted written recommendations as well. Our central message was that government can do more with the data it already has to assess the risk of overseas suppliers while also taking steps to enhance private sector efforts to monitor their own supply chains.
Panjiva’s recommendations were well received and integrated into the final action plan, released this past November. Josh’s testimony, quoted in the report, offers a simple encapsulation of the risk management challenge that the government faces: “It makes sense to focus our limited resources on those shipments that pose the greatest risk.” A key component to achieving this goal is the kind of supplier-focused, data-driven methodology that is Panjiva’s strength. Though our core business is serving the private sector, Panjiva will continue to work closely with government authorities to ensure that the technologies and methodologies we have developed are available to help in the ongoing efforts to secure America’s supply chain.