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.
What is the most crucial goal for supply chains in your opinion? Share with us in the comment below or send us message for discussion. Subscribe now to get updates in your inbox.