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The Point

"The Point" is written by BMP Editor Kelly Barner as well as a diverse group of guest contributors.

What would you do? Risk management: weather-related supply chain disruptions

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In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey struck a significant blow to the Houston, Texas metro area, home to the sixth largest import terminal in the world as well as all of the shipping lanes in the Gulf Coast area. Given the strong economic linkages between the Gulf Coast and the country as a whole, Harvey impacted the U.S. economy far beyond the local region.

Supply management professionals were on the front lines of the economic side of this environmental disaster. Imagine yourself as one of them: your facility and/or your suppliers’ facilities are in the hurricane’s path. Damage is done during the storm, and you will have to deal with the after-effects, including ongoing impacts on transportation and labor. How do you prepare for the unexpected? How will you cope with the aftermath? What do you do? 

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Procuring Lives in Puerto Rico

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Before examining Hurricane Maria’s stampede through Puerto Rico, let’s take a glimpse of this Caribbean island before the natural disaster hit. 3.4 million U.S. citizens live in this commonwealth of the United States. After being “discovered” by Columbus, the island endured Spanish colonial rule, disease, African slavery, attempted colonization by the French, Dutch, and British, the Spanish-American War, and the unending ambiguity of territorial status.

This past May, Puerto Rico declared bankruptcy with more than $70 billion in debt, exacerbated by the Jones Act, which doubles the cost of goods due to American control of Puerto Rican ports. PREPA, the main electric company on the island, has $9 billion in debt, resulting in total absence of modernization efforts of the power grid in Puerto Rico and frequent outages.

And then, Hurricane Maria happened, inflicting widespread devastation where significant challenges already existed. There is an opportunity here for procurement to play a significant role in helping Puerto Rico cope and eventually recover: by delivering the right supplies and services at the right time for the right cost in the right amounts to the right places.

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Webinar Notes: The Preparis 2014 Threat Report

Webinar Notes: The Preparis 2014 Threat Report

This week’s featured webinar notes are from a February 6th webinar hosted by Preparis. The event is available on demand on their website. The event was fascinating, in no small part because of the qualifications of the speakers and the organizations they represent.

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Blog Pick of the Week: Working Remotely

Blog Pick of the Week: Working Remotely

I love the days when I work at home. It is peaceful and I get a lot more done – both personally and professionally. Of course that is when all the technology is working correctly. We recently had a blizzard and lost power for 3 days. Then it was cold and we did not have any computers or television. Needless to say, I was not productive at all!

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Blog Pick of the Week: Spend Navigator - Plan for the Worst

Those who are optimists see the glass half full and those who aren't see it as half empty. There is also a saying : Plan for the worst and hope for the best.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to participate in development of a business continuity plan. My first instinct was that this was going to be a waste of time. Nothing is ever going to happen so why talk about it. As we went through it, there were so many considerations. The first of which was to know the locations of all the associates and did we have emergency contact information easily accessible for their families. We failed miserably on that simple one never mind any of the more complicated ones.

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