There are countless ways a company's supply chain can be disrupted, some foreseeable, others not. In recent years, we've seen companies brought to their knees by everything from political turmoil and freight capacity issues to cyberattacks and natural disasters. Given the severity of the threat, you might think supply chain contingency planning would be at the top of everyone's list today.
A June report from Vuealta, which bills itself as a "connected planning specialist," suggests that U.S. businesses have a ways to go in this regard. In a survey on how businesses are managing supply chain risks, the company found that more than a third (36 percent) of respondents doubted their supply chain was robust enough to withstand any threat or market challenge, while around half felt their leadership did not understand the potential impacts of political and market uncertainty, a cyberattack, or a natural disaster.
As we are now a few weeks into the Atlantic hurricane season, this would be a good time to make sure your own operation is prepared for the latter type of disruption. (The Vuealta report, The Future of the Supply Chain, offers some recommendations in that regard. You can download it here.)
The other side of the logistics coin with respect to natural disasters, of course, is humanitarian relief. When disaster strikes, the logistics community responds. Time and time again, we've seen companies from all corners of the community step up to offer logistics services, equipment, and expertise. If you and your company are of like mind, you may be wondering how you too can help.
That's something the fine folks at the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) know a lot about. For almost 15 years, they've been providing supply chain assistance to humanitarian relief efforts, and staffers regularly field questions about what companies can do to help out. In a blog post earlier this year, Kathy Fulton, ALAN's executive director, offered some guidance in that regard, sharing a list of practical Dos and Don'ts for those interested in supporting relief efforts. They included the following:
Of course, in order to help, you first have to put your own house—or in this case, supply chain—in order. Or to paraphrase the airline oxygen-mask drill: Put your own mask on first; then help others.