Welcome to the round up of the Sunday Debate 06/09/20.
I took an dip outside of the normal security question today and asked:
What does the supply chain (local & global) look like in a post pandemic world?
Since we have had a few months of staying at home and businesses have had to fend for their right to survive supply chains have been tested, not only tested but stretched to their absolute limits and in some cases, they have been destroyed.
China's dominant role in world exports and manufacturing of goods and knowing that over 200 Fortune Global 500 companies have a presence in China were the hardest hit. This is because Wuhan is literally the mecca of all industrialized companies where business takes place and products sourced. The tier 1 (primary) and tier 2 (secondary) suppliers in China would be hit the hardest in this region.
However, what this has forced companies to do is spread the risk outside of China and find other suppliers of goods and electronic components. Places like Taiwan and Japan are seeing an increase in production of goods while China recovers. But I do not think there will be a huge reliance on China's supply in the future in case there is another pandemic like the one we are currently going through currently (2020).
Local supply chains have managed to survive, just, and businesses have folded under not planning for the risk with the question "what happens if I cannot get product X?" The over reliance on one supplier, and complacency has demonstrated that you need to ask these questions in your current business model. Indeed, if you are stumped then hire a professional risk manager to do an assessment, the money spent is the money saved in the future of your business.
There are many things that could result in your primary consumables not reaching you and affecting your business. There are black swan events, which are events that was unprecedented and unexpected at the time it occurred. But with hindsight it is rationalized as an event that "was bound to happen" and likely had similarities of past markers in history. There are trade wars that affect supply routes think Somali Pirating, supplier bankruptcy which is why due diligence is very important, or the good old strike action where the employees react to mismanagement. This last one could mean reputation damage just for association and given social media loves a good story there is no sweeping it under the carpet anymore.
As always there were some very pertinent points that were made by the contributors this week and I am always thankful of their participation.
With the smoke clearing on Covid19 there were points made as to the impact of getting back to business and regaining lost ground, these were all short-term losses and in the long term there is ground to be made. And, because us British love a difficult situation we also have Brexit to contend with and leaving the EU with potentially no deal, Mr Johnson is not having a good year so far but hopefully it will pick up for him soon.
There were more comments to suggest companies may need to invest in storage facilitates to collect critical items for survival of the products they produce. Which in theory is potentially a great idea and could help, but a decision on overstocking and use by dates could create more waste if not used. Supermarkets have shown a good supply chain infrastructure during this difficult phase and have pulled through with minimal casualties and continued a supply of goods. There was pandemonium where people were mass buying and not being mindful of others but this is what happens during times of need, people will look after their own and self-preservation kicks in.
As discussed earlier, some of the reliance on China needs to be addressed and that companies are looking into local production of certain items namely PPE and reducing the supply chain distances. Locally produced items would benefit the economy and hopefully reel in the companies that left the shores for cheaper labour out in the world. However, the various unions that are out there to try and squeeze every last drop out of companies have to be mindful that people are lucky to have jobs and any new jobs would have to be treated with respect.
As always thank you to everybody who contributed to this Sunday debate.
Silverback Security Academy have been at the forefront of discussing logistical & infrastructure supply chain as part of their Security Management diploma. If you are interested in this pop over to their website.
Link to the course: https://www.silverbacksecurityacademy.com/our-courses/course-dates
ASIS International is running a global research project currently to analyse "Re-imagining Global Security"