Just a third of buyers have a supply chain risk mitigation strategy, CIPS poll finds

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
22 June 2015

Less than a third of buyers have a strategy to mitigate the threat posed by a supply chain crisis, a survey of CIPS members has found.

The poll carried out by CIPS found 45 per cent of buyers do not have a 'plan B' that stretches down the tiers of their supply chain. And just over a fifth did not know if they had one or not.

David Noble, group CEO, CIPS, said while purchasers could outsource production, “they cannot outsource accountability and responsibility for the conditions in which these goods are produced and where raw materials are sourced”.

He added: “Having visibility and strong supplier relationships at the first tier of the supply chain is clearly no longer enough, as these risks do not always exist in the first tier, but often further down supply chains.

“Best practice requires a thorough understanding by companies of who their suppliers are. Many procurement professionals will be confident they have this understanding, but this knowledge is incomplete.

“Professionals and buyers must have a licence to practise so business, and governments can be confident of where responsibility and accountability lies in purchasing decisions.”

The survey of 645 CIPS members in the UK, Australia and South Africa also found only slightly more than one in 10 supply chain managers maintain a close relationship with their suppliers. Of those that said they did have strong relationships with vendors up to tier three and beyond, 67 per cent said they had avoided a major supply chain crisis in the past 12 months.

“We cannot allow even one more disaster to occur such is the urgency around these issues,” Noble added.

It follows a similar survey just under a year ago which warned the UK could be “sleepwalking into another supply chain crisis”, as 72 per cent of buyers had no visibility of their supply chains beyond the second tier.

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