Purchasers must have 'plan B' to tackle weather risks

27 September 2012

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27 September 2012 | Adam Leach

Purchasers in the UK have been advised to check they have remote access to email, emergency stocks, contact details of suppliers and financial information in case supply chains are disrupted by extreme weather.

This week, severe flooding and weather warnings across the UK have caused disruption to the operations of businesses and the lives of workers, and buyers are being urged to take action to limit the risks. Global insurer Zurich has developed a five-point plan to help purchasers with considerations.

Explaining the motivation behind the report, Nick Wildgoose, global supply chain product manager at Zurich, said in a statement: “In the past, flooding and storms have caused major property damage, disrupted operations and supply chains and in, some cases, have resulted in companies shutting down completely.”

The plan, which is based on feedback from government representatives and expert organisations, recommended businesses first assess what risks they face. As part of this, they should review how they have been affected in the past and how they can strengthen their contingency plan to mitigate against those risks. Critically, it urges buyers to assess the risks against all areas of its operation, particularly its supply chain and to make changes where necessary. It also advises consulting with government bodies and other businesses and working to gather to devise continuity strategies.

The five points are:

1.    Assess the risks and act accordingly.

2.    If you are unsure about risks/adaptation/weather, use free resources and online tools.

3.    Review your own suppliers’ financial and physical supply chain issues and adapt your business continuity accordingly.

4.    Ensure you have a ‘plan B’.

5.    Share resources and concerns with local government and the business community.

Supply Chain Resilience 2011, published in association with CIPS, the Business Continuity Institute and DHL, found 64 per cent of British businesses had suffered a disruption to their supply chain as a result of severe weather conditions.

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