Expect the unexpected

12 April 2011
“We are in daily contact with our suppliers,” says one buyer, “We have set up a task-force that meets daily to discuss possible high-risk suppliers,” says another. The purchasers were speaking to SM about how their businesses have been affected by Japan’s earthquake and tsunami and ways they are attempting to deal with the ongoing disruption (see news focus). Their advice is that open and regular communication with suppliers is essential. This enables them to find out both what’s happening in a changing situation and how to move forward. It’s common that when these kinds of events occur there’s a clamour for preparedness plans – but that clamour is not misplaced. In our latest survey of 100 buyers, we asked how many of the panel had business continuity arrangements in place. A worrying 39 per cent admitted they had none, although many said their interest in them had been “heightened” by recent events. It’s easy to put the making of such plans on the backburner, especially at a time when organisations are struggling to cope with foreseeable continuity – let alone unforeseen disasters. But this isn’t something global companies alone should consider, any organisation, at any time, could be subject to a situation that disrupts ‘business as usual’. Others do have plans in place and regularly put them to the test. They will be better placed to cope should they need to put them into action. Although it’s impossible to predict every scenario and as in all supply chains a degree of flexibility is essential. Tickets for The CIPS Conference 2011, Creating Value Generating Growth, are now available. The event takes place at Kings Place in London on 6 October. 
Darmstadt-Dieburg, Hessen (DE)
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