Can You Afford The Risk?

Apr 16 2014, 1:55pm CDT | by

Can You Afford The Risk?
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

In 2013, 80% of supply chain leaders had a material supply chain disruption. It was not just one. The average company had  three. Yet, in a study that I just completed at Supply Chain Insights, when asked about business pain, supply chain risk rates low. How come?

It is new.  It lacks a consistent definition and set of practices. Companies reward the urgent. Risk management requires a focus on the important. It requires leadership and orchestration.

Today, teams don’t know what to do. The companies that are the most mature learned the hard way. They had a disruption.

Defining the Topic

Let’s start with a definition. For the purposes of the study that we just completed, we defined supply chain risk management as the proactive identification and resolution of potential risks to the supply chain. The key word in this sentence is proactive. Unfortunately, too many supply chains are reactive. The systems respond, but they do not sense. Performance is measured by indicators, not by performance predictors.

New Insights

Supply Chain leaders answers are hard-wired for supply. Many companies will wax eloquently about the work that they are doing on “control tower” or “supply chain visibility.” It is not sufficient. We find that we are only dipping our toes into turbulent waters.

I have been working as an analyst in supply chain management for the last decade. In this role, I have done a study on risk management about every five years. I seldom get surprised on study results; but, the answer to the question on risk drivers in this survey surprised me.  As you can see in Figure 1, today it is less about supply and more about demand. Demand is the highest risk factor today; but in the future, the largest gap in risk management will be the management of global operations. The total risk profile is shown in the figure. For me, these two trends are significant:

Demand Variability. The biggest surprise for me in the research is the role of demand uncertainty on risk. Demand is more volatile and unpredictable. With the elongation of product platforms, demand latency has increased. (Demand latency is the time that it takes to translate customer purchases into an order for replenishment.) The building of demand sensing capabilities automates of market sensing and the use of channel data and can improve the time to sense market changes by 10-40X. It is much different than forecasting. Unfortunately, too few companies understand the concepts of demand latency and the importance of the use of these new forms of analytics.

When it comes to the implementation of demand sensing technologies, the implementation is easier than the organizational change management issues. However, it is difficult for the supply chain organization to accomplish this by themselves. Why?  The term “supply chain” is politically charged. It has become a function, not an end-to-end process.  Marketing and sales are also functions. The functional approach does not allow us to build demand processes. By and large, marketing and sales are not good at forecasting demand. They introduce bias. To combat this issue, and drive success in demand sensing, many companies have to rename the work stream so that it can truly be an end-to-end focus. For sales-driven and marketing-driven companies, this is a major change management issue. Simply put, to reduce risk, redefine demand processes.

Increasing Complexity of Operations. With a decade of building global supply chains behind us, companies are feeling the impact. Local regulations, fair labor, variability in shipping lanes, new materials, outsourced manufacturing and faster product development cycles are all contributing to the pain. The financial stability of contract manufacturers and third-party logistics firms is a growing risk. It is not just one factor. We are better at managing regional supply chains than tangled/knotty global ones. The organizational dynamics and politics make regional/global governance difficult. The availability of talent in Brazil, China and Africa is a also a risk.

Figure 1: Supply Chain Risk Management Issues

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from you.

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Finnish scientists identify new type of black hole
Helsinki, Oct 31 (IANS) Finnish researchers have discovered a new type of low-mass black hole, which is a bright celestial body that emits X-ray, the University of Turku has said.
 
 
Union Carbide ex-chief Warren Anderson is dead
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Warren Anderson, former chief executive officer of the Union Carbide Corporation, is dead, a media report said Friday. He was 92.
 
 
Himalayan Viagra fuels gold rush for local Tibetans
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Overwhelmed by people trying to find the prized medicinal fungus known as Himalayan Viagra, two isolated Tibetan communities have managed to implement a successful system for the sustainable harvest of the precious natural resource, suggests research.
 
 
Oceans were always there on Earth: Scientists
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Debunking previous theories that water came late to Earth well after the planet had formed, researchers have significantly moved back the clock for the first evidence of water on Earth and in the inner solar system.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Finnish scientists identify new type of black hole
Helsinki, Oct 31 (IANS) Finnish researchers have discovered a new type of low-mass black hole, which is a bright celestial body that emits X-ray, the University of Turku has said. Researchers at the Finnish university...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Union Carbide ex-chief Warren Anderson is dead
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Warren Anderson, former chief executive officer of the Union Carbide Corporation, is dead, a media report said Friday. He was 92. His death revived memories of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. He...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Himalayan Viagra fuels gold rush for local Tibetans
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Overwhelmed by people trying to find the prized medicinal fungus known as Himalayan Viagra, two isolated Tibetan communities have managed to implement a successful system for the sustainable...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Oceans were always there on Earth: Scientists
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Debunking previous theories that water came late to Earth well after the planet had formed, researchers have significantly moved back the clock for the first evidence of water on Earth and in...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Wearable health devices key for safe space tourism
New York, Oct 31 (IANS) At a time when several firms are developing spacecrafts to take ordinary citizens on short trips into space, scientists have outlined the risks and challenges involved in human commercial...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Early Walmart Cyber Monday 2014 Sale and Holiday 2014 Sale announced
Walmart has revealed their first Holiday 2014 sales details. Starting Saturday Walmart will offer over 20,000 rollback deals. New this year are early Walmart Cyber Monday 2014 sales starting midnight on walmart.com.On...
Read more on Black Friday Countdown
 
Nestle to introduce robots as sales clerks
Tokyo, Oct 31 (IANS/EFE) Nestle will use robots as sales clerks at its outlets selling coffee makers in Japan, an initiative that will later spread worldwide, a Nestle spokesperson confirmed to EFE news agency....
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Healthy diet for infants prevents obesity later
New York, Oct 31 (IANS) If you do not want your baby to grow up into an overweight adult, make sure you feed him or her healthy diet from the very first year, a study suggests. Babies who eat diets high in sugar, fat...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Popular mosquito catcher in Japan uses human odour as bait
Tokyo, Oct 31 (IANS) A novel mosquito trap that lures its prey using human scent and other smells favoured by the critter is creating a buzz as Japan frets about the spread of dengue fever. The boxlike device is the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Antarctic ozone hole stands steady: Scientists
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) The Antarctic ozone hole has reached its annual peak size and holds steady, say scientists, trying to determine if the ozone hole trend over the last decade is a result of temperature...
Read more on Business Balla