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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Big data analytics technology: disruptive and important?

Of all the disruptive technologies we track, big data analytics is the biggest. It’s also among the haziest in terms of what it really means to supply chain. In fact, its importance seems more to reflect the assumed convergence of trends for massively increasing amounts of data and ever faster analytical methods for crunching that data. In other words, the 81percent of all supply chain executives surveyed who say big data analytics is ‘disruptive and important’ are likely just assuming it’s big rather than knowing first-hand.

Does this mean we’re all being fooled? Not at all. In fact, the analogy of eating an elephant is probably fair since there are at least two things we can count on: we can’t swallow it all in one bite, and no matter where we start, we’ll be eating for a long time.

So, dig in!

Getting better at everything

Searching SCM World’s content library for ‘big data analytics’ turns up more than 1,200 citations. The first screen alone includes examples for spend analytics, customer service performance, manufacturing variability, logistics optimisation, consumer demand forecasting and supply chain risk management.

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Managing the Risks of Multinational Supply Chains

Managing supply chain risks is critical to the success of any business.

Although, the importance of supply chain risk management is perhaps most clear in Asia Pacific with its high growth rate, shifting industry trends, increasingly sophisticated consumers and expanding businesses.

An Overview

With these marketplace dynamics comes greater interconnectivity of multinational risks. According to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Asia Pacific includes nine of the world’s top 15 countries importing and exporting intermediate goods.

Companies in the region depend upon goods and services from companies in other countries in order to successfully operate their businesses, and vice versa. As the region becomes more interconnected and trade flows continue to increase, protecting valuable supply chains from both existing and new risks becomes critical to the success of companies based there.

However, managing these risks can be challenging. Today’s supply chains are becoming deeper and spread over more countries. Knowing exactly what, where and how connections can impact a company’s business can be difficult.

It is not uncommon for companies to have supply chains that go down several layers, beginning with one supplier or distributor which is dependent upon a second, which in turn depends upon a third and so on. A problem at any of these levels has the potential to disrupt a company’s business operations.

As a colleague of mine once explained: “You are only as good as your weakest link.” So it is important to have clear line of sight to all of the links in a company’s supply chain. Typically, issues such as quality control and incomplete or late delivery are top of mind when considering problems with the potential to disrupt a supply chain. There is another risk that is often underestimated, but can be equally as damaging – financial failure.

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How to Use Big Data to Enhance Employee Performance

Big Data has been one of the most significant and influential aspects of the Information Age as it relates to the enterprise world. Essentially, Big Data is the massive collection, indexing, mining, and implementation of information that emanates from just about any activity that can be monitored and managed electronically. Some of the uses of Big Data include: marketing intelligence, sales automation, strategizing, productivity improvement, and efficient management.

Enhancement of the workforce is one of the exciting and meaningful benefits of Big Data for the business sphere. Recently, human resource managers and analysts have been researching the implementation of Big Data as it relates to employees, and the following trends have emerged:

Employee Intelligence

For many decades, companies and organizations have tried various methods to gain knowledge about what their employees are really like. The productivity that workers can contribute to their employers is based on personal needs as they are balanced against the performance of their duties. With Big Data solutions, both personal needs and performance can be diluted into metrics for efficient analysis.

Modern workplace analytics originates from tracking employee records as well as metrics on their performance, interactions and collaboration. The idea is to focus on the right metrics to create a climate of positive engagement.

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6 Steps To Supply Chain Risk Management Success

6 Steps To Supply Chain Risk Management Success

Lean production may traditionally be considered the linchpin that holds successful supply chain management together, but reducing your exposure to risks is becoming a key priority for maritime companies.

Our dependence on, and partnerships with suppliers, whether it be via outsourcing or mitigating stock opens up a whole world of exposure for marine businesses and their procurement teams. That’s why risk management is so crucial to the supply chain.

Navigating risks really is the key to management success. With the global expansion of supply chains comes ever more complicated business structures and so countless issues can arise causing disruption, delays and ultimately money going down the drain.

Both buyers and suppliers can be hit by a number of unavoidable problems. From natural disasters to terrorism or cyber attacks. Each problem can have big effects on both upstream and downstream partners.

So what can you do to mitigate risk?

The best way to reduce exposure is to make sure you and your company keep up to date with developments in the maritime sector. And to follow a few key steps…

1. Choose your suppliers carefully

Conduct audits of your suppliers on a regular basis and if necessary, inspections to make sure they are committed to risk management like you are.

2. Authenticate suppliers’ insurance cover

It’s worth remembering that a certificate of insurance is only evidence of the insurance cover as it was when it was written.

3. Clearly define contract scopes and draft contracts

Be careful when defining contract scopes and draft contracts.

4. Understand the extent of your exposure

How much risk are you and your business exposed to?

5. Put a plan in place

Identifying risks is the easy part, now you have to get an action plan in place.

6. Lower the threat of risk by purchasing the right cover

Making sure your policy covers your company’s specific exposure mix and risk tolerance is important.

Do you have any ideas to add regarding risk management in supply chain? Share your opinions in the comment box or send us a message for discussion.

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