While your phone could be one of the best examples of how the system works, just about anything can be produced by a global supply chain, from sophisticated electronics to simple clothing, like a plain T-shirt. Blume Global maps out a simple supply chain, which sees raw materials collected in one place, before the material is sent to a factory at a second location to be refined, and possibly be turned into individual parts. Those items can then be shipped to a third location to be assembled into the product we see in our shops, which are then sent to a distributor, who then sends the finished product to a retail point to be sold to consumers.
It might sound like a straightforward exercise, but as Blume Global points out, a global supply chain is anything but that, because the chain involves a multi-step process. For every step of the way, documents are needed to ensure products can move from one place to another. All goods, from materials to partially finished goods, as well as the finished consumer product, need to be transported without a hitch, and they need to be stored somewhere until they’re distributed. All these functions go together like links on a chain, which can also explain why chaos and bottlenecks happen when one or several of the links are broken, per the World Economic Forum.