A recent pro-piece on 7 Secrets to Creating Supply Management Leverage over on Spend Matters Pro [membership required] by the prophet and the maverick highlighted 7 strategies that an organization can be successful in risk management in the light of recent events that include, but are not limited to: the Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy, the Zika Virus, and the East Coast Oil disruptions.
The first three are a must.
1) You must aggregate your data.
No performance improvement, in or out of risk management, can happen without data and the process and performance visibility it brings. For more insight, and tips, into this, see the pro piece.
2) You must standardize your processes through collaborative means.
You can’t take a mish-mash random approach to risk identification and management — it must be coherent, cohesive, and collaborative. Otherwise, for every risk you prevent, two will slip past undetected.
3) Tuning — and minimizing — false positives and false negatives.
False positives are common, and the real risk is the false negatives, right? Wrong. False negatives pose a big risk, but for many companies, false negatives pose a bigger risk because, in order to minimize the possibility of false negatives, the organization will tune the system to let as many weak possibilities slip through in order to make sure no significant risks escape. However, in doing so, what will inevitably happen is that the number of false positives will increase significantly. You might be thinking, so what? Quick review eliminates them. Well, it does, but, over time, the risk reviewers become numb to, and tired of, the false positives and slowly, but surely, turn up the thresholds. Eventually they are raised so high that the false negatives increase and big risks slip in.
The next 4 are important, and most organizations will need to do at least 2 of them, and you can read the prophet and the maverick‘s piece on 7 Secrets to Creating Supply Management Leverage for more details, but here are a few you might also need.
8) Payment and Receipt Monitoring
Supply disruption in critical parts and goods is one of the worst supply chain disasters an organization can experience because an inability to sell the primary product line will result in a significant drop in revenue. Supply disruptions happen for a number of reasons, some of which are preventable (like not ordering from a supplier about to go bankrupt), some of which are not (like a natural disaster).
The best way to detect an issue is in delivery and invoicing monitoring. A supplier that is on hard financial times will submit invoices extremely promptly, follow-up quickly, re-submit on or before the deadline, and often take less than desireable early payment discounts. If they are at the point where they can’t even afford to get the credit to buy the goods and labour they need to make and ship your products, shipments will start to be late. Or maybe quality levels will drop and reject rates will rise. All of this can be detected early on with good internal data monitoring.
9) Impact Event Definition and Real-Time News Monitoring
Once your data is aggregated, and your supply chain mapped, you not only know your sole source suppliers (that need to be duplicated), but you also know your choke-points (where any number of events could impact your supply chain) and primary supply regions. (Just because you’re buying American doesn’t mean 80% of the raw materials aren’t coming from China!) You can easily define these regions, and the most likely supply chain impacts (port strikes, natural disasters, etc.) and then set up news and event monitoring to alert you to any event that could potentially impact your supply (including events that would impact two levels down the supply chain, which would cause a ripple event up). Now, its true that these are only so accurate and you might get a lot of false positives, but its better to quickly eliminate a few dozen false positives and get real time visibility into a critical component supply shortage in three months then find out there is no available supply left when a delivery date is missed.
X) Supplier Development
Let’s face it, the 7 steps in the prophet and the maverick‘s pro piece and the 2 steps above are good, but the best risk management you can do is instill the same commitment to risk monitoring, management, and prevention into your supply base (who will also do their best to push it down). A+ risk management can only do so much if your suppliers are C+ students at best.