Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Supply chain resilience

Lyndon Bird
Business Continuity Institute

In 2009 The Business Continuity Institute decided that more research was needed into the level of business disruption being caused by supply chain problems. The challenge we set ourselves was to provide data to help organizations develop and enhance resiliency within their supply chains. This work was done with the strong support of Zurich Insurance Services and in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.

Since then, this has become a regular annual survey and its findings have become increasingly influential to the business continuity, purchasing and supply and insurance communities. At BCM World 2013, the findings from the most recent survey will be announced and I will be leading a discussion on these alongside Nick Wildgoose of Zurich Insurance Services.

This is the first release of data from 2013 survey and those attending the session will be given a printed copy of the full report. Although the methodology used in 2013 was consistent with previous years, some additional questions were added.

One issue looked at in 2013 in some detail was the extent to which non-physical events in the supply chain were causing disruption. These are seen as those events where supply itself is unaffected in the short term but could cause potential long term damage to reputation or even business viability. Another new question in 2013 looked to understand the extent to which supply chain failures were generating negative and positive social media discussions.

The presentation will look at the key findings that emerged from the report relating to supply chain vulnerability and what organizations are doing about it. The causes of disruption are identified, together with their relative frequency of occurrence and the actual consequences. Strategic, financial and reputational exposures are considered, as well as the more typical short term operational disruptions resulting in reduced productivity. Comparisons with previous years will be discussed and these show that some interesting trends are starting to emerge.

The discussion will then look at the lessons for business continuity practitioners; the way organizations try to keep track of their key suppliers’ business continuity capabilities; what works well and what still needs changing. We perhaps need to look at the need for senior management to understand and participate more fully in the supply chain selection and monitoring process.

The takeaway from this session will be the recommendations that can be used immediately to start identifying supply chain weaknesses and strengthen supply chain resiliency.

Lyndon, along with Nick Wildgoose of Zurich Insurance Services, will be discussing the issue of supply chain resilience within the 'Thought Leadership' stream at the BCM World Conference on Wednesday 6th November, starting at 15:20.

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