What’s Your Supply Chain Disaster Plan?

by Todd McDonald on November 2, 2012

It’s hard to go anywhere today and not hear reports of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy – from flooded subway tunnels and streets to fire-ravaged communities to compromised bridges and roadways and suspended seaport operations. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, some 20 percent of the U.S. population is expected to be affected in some way by the storm.

And, when it comes to supply chains, with the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions serving such a critical role in the manufacturing and distribution of so many products, the impact is sure to be unprecedented.

As this story has unfolded over the past few days, it has made us wonder, how many manufacturers have solid plans in place for responding to major disruptive events such as this? Are they ready to redirect resources, seek alternative supplies, and react to unforeseen issues within their network?

This issue is especially near to our hearts, as we not only play a critical role in the supply chain for many of our customers, we also partner with many of our clients to audit their existing workflow processes, make recommendations to significantly increase efficiencies, provide comprehensive supply network strategies, as well as successfully manage entire supply chains.

But, whether we are managing the supply network, or are simply part of it, we recommend taking several key steps to mitigate supply chain risks.

  • Have established supply agreements that include disaster plan details
  • Work with suppliers that have multiple, flexible and/or modular locations
  • Keep inventory in multiple 3rd party logistics (3PL) locations close to customers
  • Establish inventory programs that have contingencies for times of interruption or high demand

What about you? What steps do you have in place to reduce supply chain risks and bring your supply chain back up as soon as possible after any disruption? And, more importantly, after hearing about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, what other steps are you now considering adding to your plan?

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