Supply Chain Risk

One of the aspects of ever-growing experience is the sorrow of knowledge. In times of economic turbulence, procurement could be dragged into a cycle of faulty practices that starts well before the cri...
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This content was posted on the ATSC Blog on November 23, 2020 Like everything else in 2020, we can expect the holiday shopping season to come with unique challenges. Not only are pandemic shutdowns on...
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This content was posted on the All Things Supply Chain blog on September 28, 2020 Back in the late winter / early fall of 2020, the whole world became intimately familiar with the detailed innerworkin...
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This content was posted on the ATSC blog on August 24, 2020 On August 4th, 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate – equivalent to approximately 6 million pounds – that were being stored in a facility at Bei...
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This content was published on the ATSC Blog on July 27, 2020 Since risk is a reality in business, and ‘certainty’ is an extremely expensive proposition, an enterprise’s appetite for risk has always be...
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This content was posted on the Thinkers 360 Blog on June 13, 2020 What are your predictions for COVID-19 in terms of business and technology implications and recommendations for executives over the ne...
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This content was published on the ATSC blog on May 25, 2020 The word ‘chain’ evokes images of metal links locked together, but this analogy has not been apt for a long time. Terms such as network, eco...
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This content was published on the ATSC blog on April 20, 2020 Seemingly overnight, every procurement professional’s top priority has become helping their company get through the COVID-19 pandemic and ...
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This content was published on the Fairmarkit blog on April 20, 2020 If there is one thing you get used to when you work in procurement, it is that no one outside of the field has any idea what we do f...
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This content was posted on the ATSC blog on February 24, 2020 Acute awareness of China’s impact on global business has been front and center since the onset of the Coronavirus health emergency in late...
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“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!” – President Donald Trump on Twitter, March 9, 2019.

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“Efficient, effective, risk-centric, and risk-adjusted third party lifecycle and risk management is a new and distinct way of doing business. How your company approaches any major change like this one is up to senior leadership.” (p. 162)

 

Third Party Risk Management: Driving Enterprise Value by Linda Tuck Chapman (The Risk Management Association, 2018) tackles one of the topics that procurement organizations discuss most – how to prepare for, handle, and mitigate the risks that result from our company working with third parties. Although it is not declared on the cover, the book is largely focused on the financial services industry. That said, the vast majority of the information will apply to your company regardless of industry or sector.

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Globalization has transformed the world into one big economy. Capitalist theory suggests that markets in an open and healthy economy promote widespread well-being by increasing competition and ensuring the availability of goods and services. Increased competition then drives production cost optimization, research and development, quality management, differentiation, innovation, and other positive externalities. Broadly speaking, competition generates wealth.

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“When considering any contribution that risk management can make to the organization, it is important to decide whether the contribution will relate to strategy, projects and/or operations. The decision will enable the risk management activities within the organization to be aligned with the other business operations activities and imperatives.” P. 292

 

Fundamentals of Risk Management: Understanding, Evaluating and Implementing Effective Risk Management (5th Ed.) by Paul Hopkin (Kogan Page, July 2018) provides a thorough and instructive foundation for anyone looking to increase their enterprise’s rigor around risk. By acknowledging and discussing critical contextual issues such as global finance, international regulations, corporate culture, and natural human responses to risk, this book sets the reader up for success - and empowers them to proactively and positively navigate the inevitable uncertainty we all work in the midst of.

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These webinar notes are based on an April 26th webinar presented by Resilinc and Hogan Lovells and hosted by Supply & Demand Chain Executive Magazine. Here is the link to the on demand registration page.

As I mentioned in my weekly webinar recommendations post, I trusted S&DCE as the host of this event because I’ve seen them cover equally ‘hot button’ topics with balance and a high degree of professionalism in the past. This event was no different – in fact, Resilinc CEO & Founder Bindiya Vakil opened the webinar by making the comment that the topic would be handled as a business issue – not a political one.

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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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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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In the new global era, speed and velocity are more important than everything else!” (p. 12)

The LIVING Supply Chain: The Evolving Imperative of Operating in Real Time by Rob Handfield and Tom Linton (Wiley, 2017) takes everything you know about ecosystems and Darwinian principles and applies it to supply chain management.

One of the most telling sections in the book is in the Preface where Handfield shares three major shifts affecting the digital economy (paraphrased here by me):

  1. Data is a natural resource (think raw material)
  2. Converting data into decisions is the key refinement process of the digital era
  3. Cognitive computing (human/machine interaction) will be a critical ‘relationship’

To me, these points are significant because they are NOT followed by something along the lines of “… and here is what all this means for supply chain.” Like the authors, we need to stop thinking of the supply chain as somehow separate or downstream from economic/digital trends. The supply chain is a fully integrated piece of the ecosystem – or should be – and must be managed as such. Every time we feel compelled to translate trends, priorities, forces into a supply chain-centric version, we obscure their meaning and slow the movement of information.

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Have you ever wondered what other company’s fleets look like? How other companies source their fleet units, parts, and services? What information is needed to begin? The first thing to know, is that no two fleet profiles are the same. The second thing to understand, is that there is no right place to start; it all depends on your corporate procurement goals. Are you trying to maximize upfront funds? Is your goal to streamline services and optimize vehicle performance? Are you attempting to marry two fleets after a merger or acquisition? There are endless scenarios that will benefit from strategic procurement thinking.

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Although we’re a few weeks past the Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy now, the shake up left experts, businessmen, companies, and customers alike wondering what other events could potentially jeopardize their operation or interfere with getting the product they ordered on time. There are countless risks in a globalized economy, making it a subject of relentless discussion among academics. That being said, some of the biggest companies in the world still do not have a team dedicated to risk management for their supply chain and procurement operations. A recent report by ATKearney and RapidRatings on managing supply risk in uncertain times found that “leaders have struggled to manage the latent risk in their extended supply chains. Most cite lack of bandwidth and budget as the biggest roadblocks. Dedicating scarce resources to prevent or minimize the impact of an issue that might never occur is often not a priority.”

With globalized supply chain operations, risk is growing and managing it is more critical than ever. Some risk factors have been greatly discussed in the industry, and others not so much. Below are a few of the risks threatening global supply chains as well as solutions and action items.

 

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