What is the most crucial goal for supply chains?

What is the most crucial goal for supply chains?

One of the driving forces behind the expansion of business relationships is a mindful effort to reduce risk. This is particularly true in supply chains.

To be sure, the pursuit for lower-cost materials and more efficient logistics are very important to industries of all kinds today. But reliability of supply and precautionary redundancy have prompted firms in industries ranging from basic materials like steel and chemicals to high technology, to establish supply networks across the globe.

Ironically, it’s likely that in going global, companies have not actually decreased their risk profile but actually increased it. Broadening exposures can actually drive total risk higher, either by actual exposure to new perils or simply by making existing risks more difficult to quantify or manage.

That is especially true of global supply chains, through which goods or services often come from countries with low per-capita income, weak regulatory control or where the quality of risk management practices—as well as building codes and standards—are weak or nonexistent. In several memorable cases, retail chains and clothing brands have had to respond to fires and collapses of the factories making their garments on the other side of the planet.

Even the industrialized world is not immune to global risks, as was proven by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011. Automobiles, car parts, electronics, and many other sectors saw their supply chains disrupted for weeks or even months, prompting them afterward to geographically diversify their sourcing, production and inventory.

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Step by Step Supply Chain Risk Management

Supply Chain Risk Management Step by Step

Managing risk in the supply chain can be a daunting task. Supply chain managers increasingly realize that protecting their supply chains from serious and costly disruptions. But often they don’t take action, because they are paralyzed by not really knowing how to start.

Zurich’s 2014 Supply Chain Resilience Survey puts some figures on the problem:

  • 73.5% of organizations surveyed said they do not have full visibility into their supply chains.
  • 76% of respondents reported at least one instance of supply chain disruption last year.
  • 44.4% of disruptions originate below Tier 1 suppliers.
  • Loss of productivity (58.5%), increased cost of working (47.5%), and loss of revenue (44.7%) were the most commonly reported consequences of supply chain disruptions.
  • 28.6% reported low mangement commitment to the issue of supply chain resilience.

Taking a step-by-step approach can help. Solid planning, carefully planned and executed, not only reduces risk but also can increase supply chain efficiency, enhancing the organization’s bottom line.

What are your thoughts about risk management in supply chain management? Share with us in the comment box and subscribe to get updates in your inbox.

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Counter-measure Offers Cyber Protection for Supply Chains

Counter-measure Offers Cyber Protection for Supply Chains

The supply chain is ground zero for several recent cyber breaches. Hackers, for example, prey on vendors that have remote access to a larger company’s global IT systems, software and networks. In the 2013 Target breach, the attacker infiltrated a vulnerable link: a refrigeration system supplier connected to the retailer’s IT system.

A counter-measure, via a user-ready online portal, has been developed by researchers in the Supply Chain Management Center at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

The CyberChain portal is based on a new management science called “cyber supply chain risk management.” It combines conventionally-separate disciplines cybersecurity, enterprise risk management and supply chain management.

Funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the UMD researchers developed the formula, in part, after surveying 200 different-sized companies in various industries.

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Is Your Money Safe? Risk Management Blindspots That Cost Investors Dearly

Is Your Money Safe? Risk Management Blindspots That Cost Investors Dearly

Both retail and institutional investors who have survived one or more economic recessions have learned that they cannot select their money managers solely on a demonstrated stream of at or above benchmark returns and that they need to include the underlying risk of their investment portfolio in the formula that calculates expected future value. However, the risk denominator in portfolio management analytics may be underestimated or misestimated because of the following three industry problems:

1. The traditional view of risk is disaggregated

The traditional view segregates risk into market, credit and operational.

2. Regulators are approaching the industry reactively

Significant regulatory tightening ensued after the 2008 mortgage crisis.

3. Operational risks is not adequately represented

To manage market risk better, most investors are well aware of basic portfolio hygiene principles including the value of diversification, the importance of looking at volatility driven asset correlation, rebalancing, the criticality of subtracting leverage when assessing quality alpha, the value of protecting for inflation through IL bonds or inflation-hedging assets such as real estate.


How can investors make safer investments?

What could investors do in an environment of confusing regulatory requirements and limited transparency around operational risk? For starters, Investors can raise their awareness and employ alternatives to address the information asymmetry in the following ways:

1. Select asset managers that demonstrate commitment to operational risk management

Certainly some asset managers understand and are willing to invest in operational excellence and risk management.

2. Look for business partners that can help

Whenever there are potential gaps, new business models emerge and the industry evolves.

3. Improve your investment due-diligence process

Investors are in the best position to demand greater transparency and accountability from money managers and one way to do that is to raise the standards of due-diligence.

Do you have any opinions regarding this topic? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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The Higher Stocks Go, The More Important Risk Management Becomes

The Higher Stocks Go, The More Important Risk Management Becomes


  • With “new high” showing up in market reports on a frequent basis, it is prudent to nail down equity risk management plans.
  • Economic and central bank signals are quite a bit different in the United States and Europe, making seat of the pants allocation decisions more difficult.
  • Rising inflation in the United States could bring correction/bear market plans into play in the coming months.

Financial Markets Are Complex Organisms

Just as the human brain is an extremely complex organ, the financial markets have an almost infinite number of factors that ultimately determine the value of our investment portfolios. Therefore, it is unlikely that “figuring it out as we go along” will produce favorable investment outcomes. In the present day, there are numerous and somewhat conflicting signals. On the bullish end of the spectrum, growth in the United States appears to be picking up and the Fed has been extremely accommodative. However, the economic bears can point to low inflation in Europe (fear of deflation) and rising prices in the United States that may force the Fed’s hand.

Investors Need A Consistent Approach

While we are not brain surgeons, our guess is that surgery involves somewhat of a “flow chart” or “if, then” approach. For example, if bleeding needs to be contained, then there are specific steps to address the unfavorable situation. An investment risk management plan works in a similar manner by having specific and executable strategies that follow an “if the market does this, then we will do this” script. A recent bullish example surfaced on June 8 as observable evidence began to surface in equities favor. The evidence allowed for a prudent “bump up” to the growth side (SPY) of our portfolios.

Welcome to share your opinions if you have any suggestions or comments. Contact us for more information.

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Retirement planning: How not to outlive your money

Retirement planning: How not to outlive your money

Retirement is ultimately an exercise in risk management – and dealing with risk involves an educated understanding of how unforeseen events can sabotage your golden years.

The greatest single hazard is what planners call “longevity risk” – the possibility that you may outlive your money.

Actuaries tell us that a woman who is now 65 can expect to live, on average, to 88, while a man can look forward to reaching nearly 86. Remember, though, that those are averages – about half of retirees will outlive those figures. In fact, if you are now a 50-year-old woman, there is nearly a 10 per cent chance that you will live to celebrate your 100th birthday.

How do you plan for a retirement that may be as long, or longer, than your working life? For the dwindling number of Canadians who are members of defined-benefit plans with automatic cost-of-living adjustments, there’s little to worry about. For most of us, though, there is a lot of risk in planning three decades ahead – especially given two additional hazards.

A good retirement plan should address longevity risk, inflation risk and market risk. Here are the pros and cons of three key risk-management tools:


An annuity is essentially a contract with an insurance company, which guarantees to pay you a steady stream of income until the day you die.


Taking a part-time job in the early years of your retirement can make a big difference to your financial picture. Earning even $4,000 a year replaces the income you could reasonably expect to generate from a $100,000 portfolio. It also provides a buffer against unexpected inflation.

Your portfolioare

Many people can achieve big gains from simply adjusting their portfolios to reduce the cost of investing and to ensure the right mix between income producers (like bonds) and more inflation-proof investments (like stocks).

The bottom line

It all sounds very intimidating – but doesn’t have to be. Despite their challenges, Uncle Jim and Aunt Mary never complained, but simply found ways to live on less.

How do you plan your retirement? Do you find this article useful? If yes, welcome to share it or you can leave comments if you have opinions. You may also send us a message for discussion.

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Sharpening strategic risk management

Sharpening strategic risk management

While conventional enterprise risk management (ERM) techniques have done a reasonable job in identifying and mitigating financial and operational risks, research shows that it is the management of strategic risk factors that will have the greatest impact on your ability to realise your strategic objectives. Bringing ERM into the forefront of strategic decision making and execution could thus give your business a decisive edge.

Strategic risks can be defined as the uncertainties and untapped opportunities embedded in your strategic intent and how well they are executed. As such, they are key matters for the board and impinge on the whole business, rather than just an isolated unit.

Strategic risk management is your organisation’s response to these uncertainties and opportunities. It involves a clear understanding of corporate strategy, the risks in adopting it and the risks in executing it. These risks may be triggered from inside or outside your organisation. Once they are understood, you can develop effective, integrated, strategic risk mitigation.

Far from holding back the business, strategic risk management is about augmenting strategic management and getting the full value from your strategy. In a typical instance, a conventional approach to setting and executing strategy might look at sales growth and service delivery. Rarely does it monitor the risks of a shortfall in demand.

Key questions for the board

  1. How well is my strategy actually defined?
  2. How broad are the risks that we are considering?
  3. What risk scenarios have we considered to test our plans?
  4. Have we mapped our risks to key performance and value measures?

Thank you for reading. If you have any opinions, please leave a comment below or send us a message.

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The Startup Entrepreneur’s Guide To Risk Management

The Startup Entrepreneur’s Guide To Risk Management

Only 44% of small businesses stick around four years or more. One big reason so many go away: Poor risk management.

Fortunately, help is on the way from the guys at VC Experts (subscribe to their email here).

They’ve published a helpful how-to on the art of risk management from Akira Hirai, the founder and managing director of Cayenne Consulting. With permission, we’ve excerpted the best bits below.

The Risk Management Framework

“Risk Management” is the art and science of thinking about what could go wrong, and what should be done to mitigate those risks in a cost-effective manner.

In order to identify risks and figure out how best to mitigate them, we first need a framework for classifying risks.

Once we know the severity and likelihood of a given risk, we can answer the question: Does the benefit of mitigating a risk outweigh the cost of doing so?

  1. Quadrant A: Ignorable Risks
  2. Quadrant B: Nuisance Risks
  3. Quadrant C: Insurable Risks
  4. Quadrant D: The Company Killers

Identifying & Mitigating the Company Killers

Companies flatline when the cash runs out and total current liabilities (i.e., bills due now) exceed total liquid assets. Risk management is all about identifying and mitigating the uncertainties — especially the company killers — that surround cash flows.

Uncertainty plagues businesses in countless ways, but we can group most company killers into the following categories:

  1. Market Risks
  2. Competitive Risks
  3. Technology & Operational Risks
  4. Financial Risks
  5. People Risks
  6. Legal & Regulatory Risks
  7. Systemic Risks

The knowledge of risk management is also essential establishing a startup business. If you have any opinion, leave it in the comment box below or send us a message.

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iView Systems’ iTrak® Business Intelligence Delivers Dynamic Dashboard Risk Analytics & Reporting

iView Systems’ iTrak® Business Intelligence Delivers Dynamic Dashboard Risk Analytics & Reporting

iView Systems, a leading provider of loss prevention solutions for the security and surveillance environment, is excited to announce the most recent addition to the iTrak® family of Incident Reporting and Risk Management solutions, the iTrak® BI (Business Intelligence) Module. The iTrak® BI Module delivers powerful dashboard visualizations from information reported in the iTrak Incident Reporting and Risk Management and other data sources in real-time, providing users a visual representation of their incident and other iTrak information. This allows organizations to quickly extract meaningful business intelligence to detect emerging trends & identify risks, threats & vulnerabilities.

iTrak® BI real-time, interactive dashboard reporting and visualization.

  1. Manages dynamic business data, providing the ability to control the visualization and analysis of data in real-time.
  2. iTrak® BI is equipped with a large selection of high-quality data controls and visualizations, effectively presenting the data to associated audience.
  3. Connects and consolidates data into one system, regardless of where your data resides; saving time and money.
  4. iTrak® BI empowers end-users to create, interpret, analyze and drill down through a wealth of information for effective decision-making in real time.
  5. iTrak® BI adapts to the business so users don’t have to adapt to the product.
  6. iTrak® BI gives users a range of viewing options that are designed specifically for both desktop and mobile delivery providing important metrics on the-go.
  7. iTrak® BI allows communication, collaboration and the ability to take direct action via commenting capability directly on the dashboards – allowing effective and immediate the insight to make better business decisions.
  8. iTrak® BI Dashboards lets users choose, filter, format and sort metrics they need to see, with the ability to share and collaborate the finished results (mashups) with other users.
  9. The web-based solution lets users create, view, and interact with dashboards directly in a web browser – with no need to install a separate desktop application.

If you have any question, leave us comments below of send us a message.

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8 Risk Management Tactics Your Startup Should Have in Place

8 Risk Management Tactics Your Startup Should Have in Place

What is one risk management tactic you implemented during the early stages of your business to protect you and the company?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

  1. Voice the Red Flags
  2. Hire a Tax Advisor
  3. Mind the Cash Flow
  4. Have Good Contracts
  5. Create an LLC
  6. Get Lean
  7. Insist on Down Payments

These strategies could be simple yet important. Do you have any thoughts? Post it in the comment box below or send us a message.

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