Continuity in your supply chain is critical if you want to be able to deal with all types of events and interruptions to your normal supply flow. Supply chain professionals who are responsible for continuity need to take every measure possible to make sure that they are accounting for all potential continuity risks, whether they are experienced with these risks or not.
Analyzing Risk Potential
The first step in making sure that you are minimizing the risks found in your company’s chain of supply is understanding what exact kinds of risks can be found. During this step of the process, you need to examine the entirety of your supply chain, from the acquisition of raw materials necessary for your products or services to the delivery of your end products to customers.
Consider all kinds of problems that could happen with your supply chain, even parts that you are not directly involved in. For example, if any part of your chain of supply is based in another country, it is important that you know what could happen in that country to disrupt the continuity of your logistics. Is this area prone to natural disasters like tsunamis or earthquakes? You should also be familiar with the government and current political climate. Your supply chain may be drastically impacted if a new government takes over that has a different policy regarding international trade.
When you are analyzing the risks in your company’s continuity, remember to take into consideration things that have happened in the past. By learning from continuity issues that your organization has previously been through, it will be much easier for you to plan for continuity problems that may crop up in the future.
Creating a Backup Plan
Even the most severe continuity issues can be dealt with, provided your company has a strong enough backup plan in place to overcome your challenges. It is important that your logistics professionals understand the terms of this plan and how it is supposed to be executed so that you will be able to handle any challenges that come up involving your supply continuity. For example, if one of your facilities is forced to close because of weather conditions, you should have a plan in place that dictates how you will re-route shipments from and deliveries to this facility so that your logistics can continue to run smoothly. Remember to also make sure that you have an efficient way to notify the pertinent employees that you are switching to these contingency protocols: if not, you might compound your supply chain issues.
Tracking the Performance of Your Risk Management Plans
Optimizing your business continuity means making sure that your plans for handling logistics disruptions are always as effective as possible. It will be much easier to do this if you have the help of modern logistics tools, such as data dashboards or analytics software that can help you understand the difference in performance between when you are operating normally and when you are using supply chain measures that are only employed when you are having continuity issues. This will help you make sure that your efforts to minimize continuity risks are actually working, instead of making things worse when your operation experiences problems in this area.
Despite the best efforts of supply professionals, every supply chain will fall victim to some kind of problem eventually. Managing the risks associated with these problems is necessary for supply specialists who want to do everything they can to maximize the success of their supply chain and protect their business from unexpected occurrences that can wreak havoc on the day to day operation of an organization.
About Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson is AFFLINK'S Vice President of Marketing and Communications. He has been with the organization since 2005 and provides strategic leadership for the entire supply chain team. In his free time, Michael enjoys working with the Wounded Warrior Project, fishing, and improving his cooking skills.