APICS Brandywine Valley Chapter President
As I write this, there is turmoil in Egypt. People are demonstrating on the streets and the end-game for the government is in doubt.
It reminds me of the risks that our long supply chains face. Do any of your products or incoming materials go through the Suez Canal? It is likely that some of them do with an estimated 8% of the world’s seagoing trade passing through the canal that provides a key link between Europe and Asia.
We can’t prevent world events, but we can anticipate and manage the risks by applying sound risk management techniques. First of all, we need to stay alert and aware. If we know of a potential situation that is a risk, we can make plans to manage it. That means we have to communicate quickly and effectively throughout the organization any events that can interrupt our supply chains. Second, once we are alerted to a potential risk, we need to act quickly to put our plan into action. This is the plan that we developed earlier, remember? When we had time to think it through and assess the plus’s and minus’s of the different scenarios we envisioned. There are at least 2 reasons to act fast. The first is obvious…we want to protect ourselves and our customers. The 2nd may be less obvious….. when we are putting our contingency plan into action, our competitors are likely doing the same thing. It is also likely that we have similar thoughts of going after the same resources, which all of a sudden have become valuable and potentially scarce. Getting these resources working for us quickly could mean the difference between a manageable interruption, and a fiasco.
I hope and pray for the best for the people of Egypt. For the rest of us, let’s check the condition of our risk management plans.
Alan R. Leigh
President, APICS Brandywine Valley Chapter
CSCP, CPIM, Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt