The growing complexity of global supply chains presents new challenges in risk management, especially as companies move into emerging markets. “Over the last year,” says Tohamy, “there have been a lot of events that have brought risk-management more to the forefront.” Companies need to respond by aligning potential supply-chain risk with financial metrics. Everyone in the C-suite needs to be “on the same page, deciding whether or not they want to take on that risk.”
Many companies continue to employ a reactive approach to risk. Tohamy urges them to boost their awareness of recent events and gain a better understanding of the roles of everyone in the organization. “In my experience,” she says, “risk management has to be sponsored and understood by executives across the entire organization.”
In recent years, she has seen a greater awareness of the issue among supply-chain managers. “I think we’re getting better,” she says. “Most of the companies I work with are starting to talk about how to make the supply chain more resilient.” To do that, they need to acquire a deep understanding of their products, critical components, and sourcing networks. They also need to engender better collaborative relationships with multiple tiers of suppliers.
In the debate over stressing prevention of future disasters versus building resiliency to what actually happens, Tohamy leans toward the latter. In fact, she says, good risk-management can provide a means of boosting competitiveness and coping with emerging markets. “The way I look at risk,” she says, “is as just another opportunity out there.”
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, supply chain risk management, international trade, inventory control, supply management, logistics management, supply chain planning, retail supply chain