Very Real Supply Chain Risk

Harvey, Irma and Maria.  These are seemingly innocent names and quite likely the given name of friends and family of countless people over hundreds of years.

Enter hurricane season 2017 and these appellations take on a new meaning. As the Atlantic hurricane season enters its second half  the effects of the aforementioned storms have generated a stunningly large volume of damage. And the season has two months remaining.  The loss of business and personal property, sizeable economic impact and most significantly, lack of swift recovery efforts are likely immeasurable.

Although the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States science-based federal agency, purports that it might be too early to definitely blame gas-house emissions and global warming on the uptick of devastating hurricane activity, they do note that human activities may have already caused changes that are not yet detectable.NOAA additionally indicates increased global warming might cause more intense and destructive potential per storm.

Various supply chain service sectors have been considerably disrupted and, unfortunately, among the most notable are those crucial to recovery efforts such as pharma (drug shortages due to factory destruction in Puerto Rico, for example) and transportation (damage to rail tracks, runways and roads). Yet, human and environmental factors are but two areas influencing efficient supply chain operation.

The optimal preparation to rapidly react to these and countless other unanticipated circumstances is risk mitigation or risk management, with risk defined as the “probability of occurrence x consequences.” The Supply Chain Risk Leadership Council (SCRM), a collaborative council that shares risk best practices, defines supply chain risk management as “the coordination of activities to direct and control an enterprise’s end-to-end supply chain with regard to supply-chain risks.”

Data from previous disasters such as Katrina have contributed to existing supply chain risk mitigation knowledge but there is much more to be learned about the response and recovery efforts from the recent spate of storms.  While the most capable of supply chain professionals have integrated risk management into their process portfolio, global environmental and political risks, in particular, act as clear reminders to strengthen risk management and supply chain disruption strategies.

What are the factors requiring risk mitigation and management

The accompanying graphic from logistics blogger Emilin Jimenez  supply_chain_riskscrisply illustrates the



numerous factors to be considered when crafting a risk mitigation strategy.

Armed with the right data, information and strategy, supply chain professionals are positioned to execute SC processes with speed, agility and high performance. As United States founding father Ben Franklin stated, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Our thoughts are with and will continue to remain with those affected by the recent devastating events.