A recent post over on the HBR Blog Network on why we’re relocating our HQ to Dubai for one month about Starwood’s one month move of their HQ to Dubai for one month brings up an interesting question:
Could you run your supply chain from another country for a month?
It’s an important question. Because if you can’t, you’re not prepared for a disaster. And given that the likelihood of a disaster shutting down your primary location is increasing as the number of natural disasters rise each year (thanks to global warming), you should be. While the risk of a disaster shutting down your Supply Management headquarters is likely small compared to the risk of a significant disruption impacting your supply chain (which is approaching 85% for many companies), the risk is there. And you have to be ready.
Furthermore, if you have the right supply management infrastructure, you should be just as capable of running your supply chain from another country as you are of running it from a temporary location fifty kilometres away. If you have a true visibility solution, you just need an internet connection and you know where everything is. If you have a good sourcing and procurement platform, you can source and order whatever you need from anywhere. And if you have a good e-payment solution, you don’t need to pick up a check from a PO Box. Good distributors have their own on-line visibility and transportation management systems, and all of your 3PL and Import/Export Brokers can be connected with an e-Document Management solution. Plus, if you truly are global, you should be able to set up quickly near a major supplier who wants to help you out in the local country to keep you as a major customer.
In other words, if you couldn’t pick up and temporarily relocate your Supply Management headquarters at a moment’s notice, you probably don’t have a modern Supply Management office running on a modern Supply Management platform. And you should. Especially since there might be no better way to really learn a major market that you are sourcing from.