It's important to protect your organisation against supply chain vulnerability, as Target discovered to its cost ©Getty Images
It's important to protect your organisation against supply chain vulnerability, as Target discovered to its cost ©Getty Images

Never leave a man behind

Bringing lessons learned from a decade in service as supply controller of HM Forces, Henry Asamoah now aims to “never leave a man behind” in his current role as indirect buyer for power supplier RWE.

He applies the thinking when dealing with suppliers, Asamoah explained to an audience at the CIPS UK Conference. He makes it his policy to work with local suppliers, helping them develop – and ensuring they don’t miss out on business with RWE through inadequate IT or other criteria that SMEs might struggle to fulfil.

RWE accesses a network of pre-vetted suppliers, using procurement platform Mercateo, as the company’s managing director Simon Roberts explained. The platform aims to address the challenges, threats and risks faced by business at procurement level. This includes reputational and financial damage suffered by large companies due to indirect suppliers, for example one of the earliest cyber-attacks, inflicted on US retailer Target, where hackers stole the payment credentials of 40m shoppers after they found unsecured access to Target’s systems through one of the group’s air conditioning suppliers.

Roberts quoted a number of reports – including the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2019: Future Shocks and Deloitte’s The Ripple Effect – that warn against complacency in the face of increasing complexity in global supply chains, and cautioned that indirect procurement is the weakest link in terms of supply chain visibility. When dealing with the inherent risks associated with supply chain transparency: “Procurement is in the limelight. We are at the forefront of mitigating risk,” he said.

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