The deadly meningitis outbreak stemming from contamination of medicine shines a light on the importance of not only keeping the end user's practices clean and safe, but also everyone included in the supply chain of a product. This article by Jeremy Quittner explains how simply trusting suppliers can be a good way of putting your customers at risk. While smaller businesses have typically not been so concerned about how “safe” their supply chains were, there has been an expansion of interest in the past few years based on the global nature of even the smallest operation: Regularly reviewing supply chains is a relatively new concept to many smaller United States-based businesses. But the practice has gained popularity over the past five years as imports, primarily from China, have been found tainted with lead, melamine, and other poisons, or have had severe defects leading to fatalities. That's because profit motives have generally driven production in past decades, emphasizing cost containment over safety, experts say. Quittner then explains how important supply chain monitoring systems can be for any sized business to achieve successful, rigorous visibility into all elements of your supply chain. Monitoring systems promote the ability to quickly identify root causes of problems, communicate with those able to make the changes needed, and protect your customers from the risks that otherwise would make it to their doors. Some companies have even been able to utilize the increased visibility of their supply chains for intelligent marketing ““ such as one company that was able to prove all of its supplies came from American companies.