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Industry Updates

It Helps to Think Like a Martian


An alien touching down on Earth in 2020 might be impressed by humankind’s range of cultural and technological achievements. They might also think, “Dang, this dominant species sure is slow to react to big threats.”

That would certainly be the case if our visitors had a supply chain expert on board. After all, our record of learning from disruptive events is frankly kind of spotty.

“Despite the last decade seeing several catastrophic events including the disastrous hurricanes that hit the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in 2017, Japan’s 2011 devastating tsunami, and 2010’s volcanic eruptions in Iceland that grounded flights worldwide, most companies were still underprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic,” notes Greg Smith, managing director of the Americas for consulting firm Proudfoot.

Smith says Proudfoot has put together a five-point risk management overview to help protect organizations against future disruptions:

  1. Locate the risks
  2. Quantify the risks
  3. Build contingencies
  4. Build the plan
  5. Insure the supply chain

“While designing and reviewing a supply chain risk management plan [SCRMP] is essential, it is imperative that organizations execute them quickly and effectively,” Smith says. “Day-to-day operations can easily derail the SCRMP if they are not implemented promptly with the right governance. Having the right partnerships and execution strategy is critical to a robust SCRMP.”

It might also help avoid embarrassment if a superior species of logistics experts stops by for a visit.


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