Hurricane Harvey Causing Concern for Ground Freight Operations

While it is no surprise that a hurricane can cause hazardous weather conditions for the trucking industry, it is always important to be vigilant, check reliable sources of weather information, and heed the postings of local, state, and federal emergency management.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind if your shipping schedule takes you into or near the impacted areas of Hurricane Harvey:

Hurricane is much more than a storm that impacts the landfall location.

The media pays great attention to the point of landfall; however, serious impacts of Harvey will be felt more than 200 miles from the eye of the storm.

The most notable impacts to be aware and cautious of are:

High winds and wind gusts

At the time of this writing, Harvey is expected to be packing sustained winds of 115 mph, with gusts up to 140 mph when it makes landfall.

Flooding

Even as this hurricane is downgraded to a tropical storm or even a tropical depression, the amount of rainfall expected as the storm lingers along the coastline is staggering.

Severe weather

Severe thunderstorm outbreaks often occur in the outer bands of a storm.

The best advice for all is to simply avoid the broadly impacted area of this storm leading up to and for the days following landfall. If you are unable to avoid the area, obey postings, road closures, and recommendations from emergency management officials in the area.

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Analysis – what impact will Brexit have on supply chain operations?

Brexit is a great uncertainty for businesses operating cross-border. Therefore, it is crucial for companies operating complex supply chains to consider the implications of Brexit on their businesses.

A PESTLE is an analysis tool that provides an understanding of the factors and external changes to the business, which may impact their ability to operate and thrive.

In this article, Nicholas Hallam considers the elements of Brexit that are out of the control and influence of businesses, but which they should still be planning for, as well as the proactive steps they can take to guide strategic decision making.

Political

Brexit has been an intensely political issue – from the original promise of the In/Out referendum (made by David Cameron to prevent a haemorrhaging of Tory support to UKIP) right through to the political and legal disputes about the triggering of Article 50 and the ongoing controversy about the trade-off between free movement and the single market. The debate – which cuts across traditional political alignments – pits sovereignty against efficiency, and the citizens of definite somewhere against free-flowing globalists.

Economic

The UK runs a constant trade deficit with the EU. While the UK’s biggest individual export trade partner is the US, over 62% of all exports went to the 27 EU Member States during Q1 2017, totalling £33.1 billion. And during this time-period the UK’s top import partner was also an EU Member State, Germany (£17.6 billion worth of goods).

Social

While Brexit essentially means untangling the links that the UK has with the EU, there are many ways in which we will stay connected irreversibly. Some of the biggest technological advances in recent years – such as smart phones and social media – have been made to connect people no matter their location, language or economic status. So, while the government may have a protectionist ethos, it may be increasingly impractical to implement to live up to most people’s expectations and habits.

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Lasting Effects of Supply Chain Mismanagement

In New York City, March 25, 1911, 123 women and 23 men died from fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths when a fire broke out in the building where their factory resided on the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors.

The incident was known as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and is the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the New York City.

This tragedy and loss of life eventually led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards.

While this famous incident is over 100-years-old, workplace deaths and injuries are still happening today.

In a recent case, Cusseta, Ala., Regina Elsea was working at an auto parts manufacturer on the assembly line when a mishap occurred, and Elsea was impaled by one of the robots. She died the following day.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reviewed Elsea’s case and found the contracting company she worked for was in violation of a federal law that could have prevented her death.

Sadly, in both cases these accidents could have been prevented with better evaluation of contractors and adherence to higher standards of safety in the workplace.

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Disney, Depp and the cyber supply chain risk management problem

One field-tested security strategy for information systems and digital content is to address the problem through processes, people and technology. On the process front, all companies involved in the production of digital IP should, by now, be adhering to a proven information security framework that fully addresses supply chain risks. That includes making sure your digital IP is protected at all times, even during post-production (or maybe we should say especially during post-production, given recent incidents).

Fortunately, there is a ready-made cybersecurity framework that companies can use, at no charge, thanks to the US federal government, which has done some sterling work in this area, namely the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.

The current version is a great way to get a handle on your organization’s cybersecurity, and the next version, currently in draft, goes even deeper into the need to maintain cybersecurity throughout the supply chain. For that reason, the draft is worth quoting at length:

“The practice of communicating and verifying cybersecurity requirements among stakeholders is one aspect of cyber supply chain risk management (SCRM). A primary objective of cyber SCRM is to identify, assess and mitigate “products and services that may contain potentially malicious functionality, are counterfeit, or are vulnerable due to poor manufacturing and development practices within the cyber supply chain.”

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6 in 10 businesses experienced at least one supply chain disruption in Asia Pacific in 2016

One in four businesses exceed ‎US$1 million in losses, but almost half of survey respondents in Asia Pacific did not insure their losses.

Zurich Insurance has revealed the key Asia Pacific findings of the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) “Supply Chain Resilience Report 2016”. Despite six out of ten organisations experiencing at least one supply chain disruption during the past year, with one in four exceeding ‎US$1 million in losses, the report found that almost half of survey respondents in Asia Pacific did not insure their losses.

Partnering with BCI for the eighth year, the annual report is regarded as one of the most authoritative benchmark reports in this business area. The key findings for Asia Pacific (APAC) this year are:

  1. IT/Telecom outages was named as the number one cause of supply chain disruption
  2. One in four organisations experienced cumulative losses of over ‎US$1 million
  3. 46% of organisations do not insure their losses, meaning they bore the full brunt of the cost
  4. Only 30% of disruptions occur with an immediate supplier
  5. 48% responded that top management have made commitments to supply chain resilience

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Commentary: Managing risk in the global supply chain

The World Economic Forum defines global risk as an uncertain event that, if it occurs, can cause significant negative impact for several countries or industries within the next 10 years.
Global supply chains create both opportunity and risk. Some of the macro issues we face both in day-to-day operations and future planning include cybersecurity, terrorism, climate change, economic instability, and political discord.
More specific to executives who manage global supply chains, risk is more apparent, and on a micro-basis potentially more consequential in the short term, in areas such as but not limited to reducing spend, leveraging sourcing options, creating sustainability, political and currency instability, government regulations in the U.S. and abroad, trade compliance management, free trade agreements, energy costs, and what the incoming Trump administration will mean for global trade.
Since the recession in 2008-2009, we have witnessed a serious uptick in companies worldwide reviewing their operational exposure and then creating risk strategies in managing these vulnerabilities. Risk exposure can negatively impact margin, profits, growth strategies, operational stability and personnel maintenance.
For companies operating in global supply chains the risks are vast, convoluted and often unanticipated. As a result, we tend to be unprepared for the impacts.

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Top 25 Risk Factors for Manufacturing Supply Chains

According to a recent report from BDO USA, an accounting and consulting organization, manufacturers’ intellectual property, supply chain data and products have become prime targets for cyber criminals.

The 2016 BDO Manufacturing RiskFactor Report examines the risk factors in the most recent 10-K filings of the largest 100 publicly traded U.S. manufacturers across five sectors including fabricated metal, food processing, machinery, plastics and rubber, and transportation equipment.

The factors were analyzed and ranked by order of frequency cited.

Manufacturing Industry Serves Up New Risks

The manufacturing industry is getting mixed reviews.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Index reported that activity was up in April after five straight months of declines.

Then, in late May, the Purchasing Manager’s Index reported the first reduction in output since September 2009.

In the trenches, manufacturers say domestic demand has been solid, while global business has been more challenging. And the end customer matters: in a recent earnings call, Caterpillar’s CEO noted, “Just about any market that’s away from oil is doing pretty good.”

“Pretty good” is a modest but realistic goal for manufacturers this year, and their top concerns echo this cautious optimism. The annual analysis of the most frequently cited risk factors found the supply chain remains at the top of the list – cited by 100 percent of manufacturers we analyzed – while emerging and growing risks in cybersecurity, competition, labor, pricing, regulations and international operations are also keeping manufacturers up at night.

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New Risks Jolt Commodities Supply Chain

The challenges facing the commodities sector have multiplied as corporations worry much more about compliance and reputational risks. Checking suppliers and, in turn their own suppliers, require new mechanisms and collaboration. Historically, large purchasers of raw materials worried foremost about price volatility and diversity of suppliers, either to meet financial projections or to avoid business interruptions.

Today, corporations must also worry that they are not unwitting participants in violating economic sanctions or tax fraud, or whether their goods are identified as coming from undesirable suppliers. Given the already complex nature of products, the impenetrable thickets of regulation and the threat from activists ready to lay siege via lawsuit or social media, these compliance and reputational risks add to a vastly increased burden faced by commodities firms.

“Clearly companies have a handle on financial risks, but if they’re operating in emerging markets they’re dealing with multiple issues,” says Mr Talib Dhanji, a partner at EY and leader of the firm’s commodities practice. “The key is to be on top of the different ways that people can commit fraud.”

Quality controls

Trading firms have a somewhat different set of risks from their industrial customers, because many firms do not take physical possession of the goods in question; they only trade futures and hedging instruments with other firms or customers. The frauds they might encounter, then, are more about unreliable promises than contaminated goods.

“Just because you get a nicely published document, that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate,” Mr Dhanji says. “You’ve got to have the right quality controls in place.” Trading firms are better positioned to put those controls in place, both because they face heavy oversight from the US and European regulators, and because the thin profit margins in commodities can mean severe financial pain if they fall victim to unscrupulous dealers.

A delivery that turns out not to meet specifications on quality, place of origin, or volume, for example, might mean a hedging instrument based on that shipment is invalid or insurers would not cover the loss. That threat tends to focus the trader’s mind.

Public scrutiny

Corporations that consume raw materials are in a more difficult spot. They are facing more public scrutiny and regulatory oversight than ever before, and many still do not have the right processes or structures to manage these new commodity risks effectively.

Compliance and reputation risks in the supply chain are different. Instead of a company looking horizontally to find more suppliers of materials, the company must look vertically down to its suppliers, and then their suppliers, and their suppliers, and so forth — all to be sure that no unwanted goods have infiltrated the supply chain at any point.

That requires new mechanisms to confirm the source of commodity goods, as well as new collaboration among treasury, risk, procurement, and compliance departments to do the task well.

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Why Supply Chain Risk Management is Key to Supplier Management

While brand damage can be quite costly to the businesses whose sales rely strongly on the customer loyalty they generate from their brand strength, cost volatility and supply disruption is very costly to all manufacturers. In fact, in the latest 2015 study by the Business Continuity Institute, supply chain disruption is double in priority relative to other enterprise disruptions and over three-fourths of respondents cited that they had at least one recent (significant) disruption. The same percentage didn’t have full visibility of their supply chains.

While category management can address and even reduce supply chain risk by ensuring a chosen strategy has the right level of resiliency, prevention and agility, it cannot prevent risk or do much to eliminate the source of risk once something has happened. That can only be done by each party in the supply chain doing everything they can to eliminate the risk. In particular, a supplier needs to do all they can to minimize the risk on their end.

However, not all suppliers are as advanced in supply chain management, and in particular, risk management as the buying organization. That’s why good supplier management combined with SCRM is key. Good risk management is a combination of risk prevention and risk mitigation when a risk is detected. Risk prevention involves selecting suppliers, products and services that are low risk and risk mitigation involves taking action as soon as an indicator is detected.

A supplier is not always good at mitigating or even detecting risk in its supply chain, or may overlook an obvious sign that an observant buyer would not, which is why proper supplier management is key. This begins even when qualifying suppliers. Including risk criteria related to the supplier and supplier location gives a good indication of a supplier’s the risk level. Besides the supplier qualification criteria, supply location-related risks provide an overview on potential threats like natural disasters, political situation, sanctions or economic risk. This gives buyers the chance to take preventive actions.

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Supply Chain Resiliency: Developing a Strong Posture

“Typhoon Halong in Western Japan not only devastated regional economics and residents, it also had a significant impact on regional supply chains with an estimated loss of $10 billion in revenue. It impacted 446 production sites and took 41 weeks to fully recover.”

“The severe coastal flooding in NYC, America’s largest city, had an estimated revenue loss of $4 billion, impacted two production sites with a 38 week time of recovery.”

“Chemical spill at an Intel plant located in Phoenix, Arizona resulted in loss of production at two sites taking 10 weeks to fully recover. The technology company and its supply chain partners lost more than $900 million in revenues.”

Too often the latest headlines highlight disasters impacting geographical regions and more specifically supply chain networks. In the past year we have witnessed global disasters related to extreme weather patterns, global terrorist attacks, rising cybercrime, and slowing global economies.

Once again, managers are reminded that our supply chain organizations are increasingly operating in dynamic, uncertain environments exposing these networks to unprecedented risk. According to the British Standard Institute’s 2016 study on supply chain risk, global supply chains have incurred $56 billion in extra costs related to disruptive events. To be competitive in today’s marketplace, our supply chains must stretch across the globe in new and unfamiliar regions which are highly susceptible to disruptive events. These can negatively impact supply chain operations from an operational and profitability perspective.

Operationally, the effects of a supply chain disruption negatively impact service levels as consumers are unable to get the products they demand. A Proctor & Gamble study on inventory availability found that supply chain disruptions resulting in product unavailability results in higher customer dissatisfaction, lower brand/retailer loyalty, and, more importantly, an immediate sales loss of four percent.

In addition to customer service and sales revenue impacts, supply chain disruptions increase overall logistics costs from eight percent to 11 percent due to increases in product handling, storage, and transportation. On the inventory side, supply disruptions require companies to increase inventory investments by 14 percent to offset product non-availability in the affected area, region, or site.

From a profitability perspective, supply chain disruptions have a near and long term effect. Corporate profitability is impacted drastically at the time of a supply chain disruption with the effect extending into a three year period.

Companies who have experienced a disruption event will likely encounter the following impacts immediately: over a 100-percent drop in operating income, seven percent lower sales growth, and 11 percent growth in operational cost. In the three year period after the disruption, companies continue to experience the effects on their profitability with 30 percent to 40 percent lower stock returns resulting in average shareholder losses ranging from $129 million to $145 million per disruptive event.

Understanding the ramifications that supply chain disruptions can have, managers have moved supply chain risk management and resiliency strategies from tactical to strategic level in the company when discussing corporate goals related to consumer satisfaction/service, competitive advantage, market expansion, operational efficiencies, and profitability. The shift in supply chain priority within the company is evident as we have seen the inclusion of c-level supply chain positions, such as chief supply chain officer, included with other corporate executives (e.g. chief executive officer, chief operations officer, etc.) along with board members and shareholders to determine the company’s course of business.

To ensure supply chains continue to keep consumers, suppliers, and the company connected to each other, these networks must be protected from unnecessary exposure to risk and failure due to faulty risk mitigation and resiliency strategies. Companies seek to incorporate use of these strategies to build higher levels of supply chain resiliency which can lessen the impacts of a disruption when it occurs as well as quickly returning the network to normal state. In order to achieve this level and type of supply chain resiliency, companies must proactively review their supply chain risk exposure using an external and internal perspective.

Externally, companies need to review their supply chain area of operations to understand their susceptibility to risks associated with economic market factors; acts of terrorism/war, changing consumer behavior and demand patterns, economic uncertainty, natural disasters, political upheaval, work stoppage, or other types of events which can lead to supply chain disruptions, delays, and inventory loss.

Internally, companies need to review their supply chain network structure to determine how well its resiliency posture can withstand a disruption and quickly return the network to a normal state. This review should include an in-depth examination of company risk associated with its network of assets, policies, people, processes, products, and systems. To conceptually understand how this external and internal review process is conducted, figure 1 below outlines the impacts and interactions these factors have on the success or failure of a company’s supply chain resiliency posture and its ability to return the organization to optimal operational performance.

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