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Did a Natural Disaster Disrupt Your Supply Chain?

Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast of the United Sates last night. Massive flooding, high winds, and more than 7.5 million people and businesses without power and more than 50 million people impacted. Our thoughts and prayers are with those facing these terrible situations. 

It brings to mind things we face in our business, our increasing dependencing on a global supply chain. We’ve looked at this once before in an article called Supply Chain Risk Management

Maybe your business is not disrupted at all by the current hurricane, but a tsunami in Japan or a wildfire out west would devestate you. Now is a good time to take a serious look at the preparations you have made.

Communication: Make sure to have multiple channels of communication. The old fashioned land line may still work in a power outage, but if phone lines are down as well, consider cell phones, email service, etc. Having a plan in place can limit confusion.

Suppliers: Many natural disasters come with some level of warning, but some do not. If you work with a single supplier consider diversifying into different geographic areas. Even if it doesn’t make sense financially to order from more than one on a regular basis, make sure you have relationships in place to pick up the slack should disaster strike one of your suppliers.

Customers: Do you provide supplies and materials essential to other businesses? Are you able to plan ahead to adjust and manage inventory levels in anticipation of a disaster?

Data: IT and other technological infrastructure is of paramount importance to most every business, big or small, today. Some businesses are entirely online and others store massive amounts of data online. Find out from your network administrator what your sever backup process is like. Do they have multiple locations in different areas? How often do they back up your data?

Today, if you are in a part of the country unaffected by Hurricane Sandy, think about what you can do to help. This is part of what makes this country great. When disaster strikes, it doesn’t matter which political party you belong to, if it is your competitor who is struggling, or any of those things on a day to day basis that form our competition. We bind together. I challenge you to find a way to reach out – individually as a person or corporately as a business. 

October 30, 2012
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BY Bellwether

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