Gaining a Supply Chain Edge

North Africa, Middle East, Japan, Earthquakes, Tsunamis: Crises and Changes Reveal Realities of Today's Supply Chains

Over the past few weeks, I have been asked to share my thoughts on some serious issues:

The impact of political upheaval in North Africa and the Middle East on fuel prices and global supply chains; and
The impact of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami on the global economy and supply chains.

An important note here I have no particular insight into the political happenings in North Africa or the Middle East. And except for my natural heartfelt concern for the people of Japan, I have no qualifications or expertise on natural disasters and their terrible aftermath.

However, I do have a few decades of supply chain expertise, and so I have been presenting my informed views in this area. To bring you up to speed, what I have been saying is that uncertainty is certain, expect the unexpected, and be sure that you have contingency and mitigation plans in place to cover supply chain risks.

Our hearts go out to those in Japan dealing with the earthquake's aftermath and those around the world facing uncertain times. Global supply chains vital to getting supplies to victims and to keeping their economies growing are also experiencing uncertainty. It would have been impossible to fully predict the events in North Africa and the Middle East or with the Japanese earthquake. But I did recently predict that "uncertainty is certain" and guess what? It is.

Over the next few months, other events are bound to develop that will continue to inject high levels of uncertainty into supply chains. Please, do not wait for such events to catch you off guard and leave you scrambling to try and minimize damage to your business. NOW, go ahead and evaluate your company's risks, anticipate the unexpected, and analyze the uncertainties that exist in your supply chain.

Whether it is fuel prices, disaster recovery, commodity prices, transportation capacity, port availability, labor availability, or another factor, get out ahead of the "unexpected" implications.

Supply chain disruptions are simply a part of the realities of today's global supply chains. It is how you prepare for and lead through this uncertainty that will seal your company's fate.

Jim
Tompkins Associates

TAGS: Supply Chain
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