Is your supply chain ready for a zombie apocalypse?

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
13 June 2011

I’ve just finished an article for the next issue of CPO Agenda looking at the state of supply chain risk management, in light of events such as the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami (look out for it in the upcoming Summer 2011 edition).

Such events appear to be on the increase (although nobody can be absolutely sure), but many large, sophisticated companies remain unaware of just how exposed their supply chains are to disruption. I did, however, forget to consider one potential supply chain disruption in my analysis – a zombie apocalypse.

You may scoff, but Leicester City Council admitted last week it was not ready for a zombie attack, following a freedom of information request that questioned the authority’s preparation for such a problem. It’s not like zombies have been keeping a low profile recently either, following The Walking Dead, Zombieland and Dead Rising.

Each (fictional) interpretation of the apocalypse is different, so whether it all kicks off like Shaun of the Dead or 28 Days Later will determine how much impact there is on the supply chain and how prepared you can be in advance. This may all sound a bit flippant, but you could say the same about any potential disruption – the impact of the earthquake in New Zealand was very different to the earthquake in Japan, for example.

Many buyers are using this uncertainty as an excuse for doing nothing – “nobody could have predicted this,” they opine. But disruption is largely predictable providing you put the effort in advance, mapping your supply chain and analysing your supply base. And if you are prepared for the zombie apocalypse, you should be ready for any other catastrophe that comes your way.

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