How vulnerable is your business to your supply chain?

In times of disruption, changes in technology, ageing infrastructure, rapid depletion of natural resources and higher levels of societal volatility, risks have increased for the supply chain.

How often have you thought about the the impact a critical supplier may have on your business in the event of a serious business disruption?

Maybe you think about it a lot. Especially these days when there is more social unrest, labour strikes, loss of power and water services and economic conditions where business survival rates have rapidly declined.

A business continuity management system, even a relatively informal one, can help you mitigate against internal and external risks. Basically, a business continuity plan helps you to do risk evaluation, perform business impact analysis, develop business continuity strategies and develop and implement business continuity plans.

The fundamental aim of a business continuity plan is to help a company restore full operations in a timely and cost-effective way.

What sort of risks do you face in the supply chain? Risk could include disruptive events resulting from a fire, employee fraud, equipment breakdown, and explosion, a cyber attack, hacking, a computer virus, power outages, severe storms, waste water service interruption, a hazardous material incident or flooding.

In the supply chain some of the risks could include tier suppliers, import or export delays, logistics disruption or delays, political instability, product shrinkage during shipping, product tampering, production problems, suppliers going out of business, supplier quality breakdown or even supplier shortages (components, parts, materials).

These risks need to be identified for your business and prioritized. Then plans need to be made to put in controls that can mitigate or reduce the impact of these risks

If any of this concerns you and your supply chain, the main starting point is to get together with your team and discuss the potential risks in your business and develop a business continuity plan.

Often when starting out in developing business continuity management, you will probably need someone to help guide you through the process.

You may even require a critical supplier to prepare their own business continuity plan to mitigate your risk.

Whatever you plan to do, remember that business continuity doesn’t have a definite end but is a continuous process where you need to review your plans on a continual basis (at least annually).

Spine-chilling fears of small business owners (six of the best capsules of terror – not to be taken at bedtime)

 Alexander the Great battling monsters, the French 15th century miniature (Credit:  Public domain work of art)
Alexander the Great battling monsters, the French 15th century miniature (Credit: Public domain work of art)

My father who retired early at about 55 because of ill-health signed surety for a motor business owned by some real smart characters in Cape Town. He was excited to be a business owner for the first time in his life. Unknown to him the other part owners in the business were spending the money my father had put into the business hand over first. Large bank loans were outstanding.

The bank came and confiscated every asset my father owned including the family house on the side of the mountain at Kalk Bay where I grew up. He never died before his time of a heart attack but because of a broken heart, lying in a cheap boarding house in Wynberg.

Be very careful of signing a surety. Know the danger from your business adviser. Check and double check with your lawyer. I will never sign surety for anyone or anything. Continue reading “Spine-chilling fears of small business owners (six of the best capsules of terror – not to be taken at bedtime)”