Firms unprepared for impact of flu on supply chain

10 January 2008
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10 January 2008 | Paul Snell

Most businesses do not ensure their suppliers have plans to deal with a flu outbreak, according to research.

A survey carried out by YouGov revealed only 5 per cent of firms contractually oblige their suppliers to have contingency plans to deal with the threat of a flu epidemic.

In addition, 42 per cent of UK bosses admitted not knowing if their suppliers had plans to cope with such an outbreak. And 93 per cent do not encourage, or even know if they encourage, their suppliers to take action to protect the supply chain.

Potential impacts of a flu epidemic could include staff shortages, panic buying or restricted movement zones, all of which could create problems for supply chain networks.

Some 44 per cent of bosses said disruption to their supply chain would affect their business. The survey found small businesses, with less than 50 people, would be most vulnerable to the effects of an outbreak.

Russell Price, chairman of the Continuity Forum, which provides advice on continuity management, said in a statement: "Our experience shows there are massive levels of discrepancy when it comes to ensuring supply chain preparedness. By failing to invest in sensible measures that ensure their suppliers have the capability to deal with risks such as an influenza pandemic, many businesses are exposing themselves to potentially serious difficulties."


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