Adverse weather is among the top 10 business threats in 2016. © 123RF
Adverse weather is among the top 10 business threats in 2016. © 123RF

Firms vulnerable to rising supply chain complexity

11 February 2016

Supply chain disruption remains in the top 10 biggest perceived threats to businesses globally in 2016, according to an annual survey.

Almost half (46%) of manufacturing businesses around the world polled by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) said they feared supply chain disruption the most. In addition, 47% of firms across all sectors said increasing supply chain complexity was leaving their organisations vulnerable to disruption from conflict or natural disasters.

While fears of supply chain disruption dropped from fifth to seventh place in the top 10, cyber attack remain the top perceived threat to business for the second year running, with 85% of the organisations surveyed for the Horizon Scan report citing it the biggest risk.

The second biggest perceived threat was data breaches, feared by 80% of businesses. Concerns over the availability of talent and skills entered the top 10 for the first time this year, with 47% organisations either concerned or extremely concerned.

The report said there was another fall in the use of long-term trend analysis to assess and understand threats, down 3% to 70% this year. And of those carrying out trend analysis, 33% are not using the results to inform their business continuity management programmes.

David James-Brown, chairman of the BCI, said: “Given the rise of new challenges and the fact that old ones remain, horizon scanning techniques are even more valuable in assisting organizations to be prepared to the best of their potential.”

Howard Kerr, chief executive at BSI, which supported the research, said: “2015 saw a number of high profile businesses across the world hit by cyber attacks, so it’s reassuring to see that so many are aware of the threat it poses. Ultimately, organisations must recognise that, while there is risk, and plenty of it, there is also opportunity. Taking advantage of this means that leaders can steer their businesses to succeed by not just surviving, but thriving.”

Global top 10 threats to business continuity in 2016:

  1. Cyber attack – static
  2. Data breach – up 1
  3. Unplanned IT and telecom outages – down 1
  4. Act of terrorism – up 5
  5. Security incident – up 1
  6. Interruption to utility supply – down 2
  7. Supply chain disruption – down 2
  8. Adverse weather – down 1
  9. Availability of key skills – new entry
  10. Health and safety incident – new entry
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