Elementum's customers are beginning to think of risk management in a new way, says Martin. The velocity of changes in modern-day global supply chains is "growing by leaps and bounds." In response, companies are attempting to "make an infinite problem a finite problem."
The focus today is on outcomes, he says. From there, companies are examining how they might better work with their supply base in a non-confrontational manner.
The challenge lies in balancing the need for planning for specific disruptions versus those that are unexpected. Martin says companies are struggling with the task of how to coordinate their operations, both internally and externally, with an eye toward executing quickly in the event of a disaster.
Should the focus be on preparedness, or agility in response to whatever happens? “It can’t be just one,” says Martin. Companies need to work with suppliers on all aspects of business continuity. “Supply-chain risk management is like a muscle,” he says. “The more you work it, the stronger it’s going to be.”
To lessen their risk of a serious disruption, some companies are pulling back from reliance on single suppliers. Still, says Martin, “it depends on the industry.” In healthcare, for example, qualifying an alternative supplier can be an extremely expensive proposition. Other industries find it easier to spread their business among multiple providers of raw materials, components and makers of finished goods.
Among the biggest barriers to success is the persistently siloed nature of many organizational functions and data. They need to be broken down within companies, as well as across partner networks, Martin says.
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