28 September 2007 | Paul Snell
Few companies are prepared for the disruption a worldwide pandemic could cause their supply chains.
A report compiled by risk consultancy Marsh and strategy firm The Albright Group, which looked at businesses across the globe found, for example, that less than a quarter of Asian businesses have a plan to deal with a pandemic.
The firms said some companies still see pandemics as unlikely events, so don't plan for them, and others see them as unpredictable, so feel they can't prepare for them.
John Merkovsky, president of Marsh's risk consulting unit, said: "We found very few companies adequately prepared to protect their people or ensure their business as the result of a pandemic."
Businesses were advised to look at their whole supply chain, including important suppliers and customers, when examining which areas may by threatened by the effects of a pandemic.
It added the private sector should follow the preparedness found in the public sector internationally, and establish links to learn from its experience.
The study also warned buyers that pandemics may not only affect their own supply chains, but have larger impacts on supply and demand worldwide and make markets volatile.