Get in a rhino suit and run!

10 February 2012
Risk management is a serious business, those that do it well are ready to overcome the most major of disruptions and those that don’t, risk never recovering from the fallout. The guys at Tokyo Zoo know this only too well, which is why they decided to carry out a bit of hypothetical role-play this week. In order to prepare staff to deal with an escaped animal, the zoo dressed up two employees in a rhino outfit and tasked them with trying to break out of the compound while being chased by guards, armed with nets and fake tranquilisers. Now, okay, it probably lacked the authenticity of a real rhino breakout, but it certainly provides food for thought for procurement. I’m not saying that you should get your CPO to dress in a rhino outfit and run around the office, (although if they’re game it would no doubt serve as a very effective ice-breaker when meeting stakeholders), but you should maybe take some inspiration from it. Risk management is all about trying to prepare for the unexpected. For Tokyo Zoo it was a rhino escaping, for you it might be a key supplier going into administration, a spike in oil prices, volcanic ash playing havoc with your operations, or a civil war breaking out in Swindon and grinding your factory to a halt. Anything is possible, so why not come up with some hypothetical situations and try to work out what their impact would be on your supply chain, and more importantly how you could reduce that impact. Alternatively, you could just watch Margin Call, a semi-decent film based on the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and see what happens when you ignore the risk management guy.
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