Thursday, July 2, 2015

Is your supply chain ready for TPP?

As Congress wrangles over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal under negotiation by the U.S., Japan and 10 other nations, it’s time for supply chain executives to consider the implication this agreement could have on their supply chains.

Industries will potentially shift to pursue lower raw material, labor costs, and tariffs made available through the agreement, and you may suddenly find yourself shipping materials from and to new countries or dealing with very different demands on infrastructure you currently rely on.

So what can you do today?

Have internal conversations with procurement about whether they’d consider sourcing from Vietnam or in one of the other developing countries participating in the agreement. If changes are anticipated, do your homework now to see how you can manage the changes to your global logistics network to continue to hit expectations in a cost effective and timely manner.  Every port has fixed infrastructure and capacity that is not likely to change quickly so begin looking at the service available in the countries under consideration.

Start by looking at the historical risk picture country by
country and port by port.
With so many different risk factors to consider, start by looking at the historical risk picture country by country and port by port. Each is so very different and must be evaluated separately.  What’s the labor/union landscape like? How long does it take for shipments to travel from supplier plants to the ports and from those ports to the U.S.?

Connect with your freight forwarders now to find out whether they plan on ramping up capacity in those countries, if they have a local presence (an office or agent) there and whether they can start providing their strategy, schedules, and rates. If they are currently operating in the region, will they change equipment or procedures to handle increased demand?  Take a tour of their offices and have your forwarder schedule you for a tour of the local infrastructure.  Consider “boots on the ground” your best source of intelligence with an ability to look for yourself and ask your own questions.

If you are already reliant on any of these countries, you need to be prepared for a sudden on-rush of demand that challenges the capacity you’re comfortable with. Even if you’re not changing, the market is going to change if this agreement is passed.

Ask your team “what would happen if …” in tabletop exercises.
Prepare by having similar conversations with your existing freight forwarders to ensure they are prepared to meet your needs as demand increases. Also, run through scenarios in table top exercises where you ask your team “what would happen if …” For example, what would happen if a strike shut down one of the major ports you rely on? What if it starts taking an extra 3 weeks to get shipments due to increased demand on a country’s supply chain infrastructure? Focus on how you would handle a problem like that, and what you can do now to minimize your exposure to risk.

By preparing today and having proactive conversations, you can be prepared to minimize variability in the plan that leads to unexpected, increased costs. Work like this is also valuable as it moves you from a reactive posture to a proactive one, allowing you to focusing on strategic issues and challenges before they become a problem.

Have you started considering the implications of TPP? What challenges are you facing or anticipating? Let me know in the comments below, or feel free to contact me.

Chris Kushmaul is responsible for leading IDV’s supply chain risk management practice including guiding the development, program management and implementation of Visual Command Center for Supply ChainContact him by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Everbridge unified critical communications now available to add to Visual Command Center

Our newest partnership and technical integration means Everbridge’s Mass Notification platform is now available as an integration into our Visual Command Center Enterprise Risk Visualization (ERV) software.

Everbridge is the worldwide leader in unified critical communications. The extension empowers organizations to protect employees, facilities and business continuity when risk events occur by instantly communicating with selected contacts from Visual Command Center.

How it works
When a storm, earthquake, disease outbreak or other operational risk event occurs near something you care about, Visual Command Center alerts you to the potential danger. Each alert includes a list of potentially affected assets and the people who may need to be contacted, for example travelers, building managers, field staff, shipping or logistics departments, infrastructure teams, and on-site security officers.

When your people or assets are in jeopardy, integrating Everbridge with Visual Command Center empowers you to:
  • Communicate via more than 25 contact paths, including e-mail, text, voice, and push notifications.
  • Track the real-time status of message recipients to know who has responded and who needs assistance.
  • Customize response options for each message. Allow respondents to add free-form notes.
  • Visualize messages and responses in the map and timeline, and list views.
  • Connect directly from the message to a conference call.

The extension’s use extends beyond emergencies. You also have the ability to select message recipients from lists or regions on a map when you need to send messages to support regular operations.

The cloud-based Everbridge platform offers a level of security, performance, and availability that ensures that the right messages get delivered to the right people, at the right time.

For more information, read our data sheet or contact us today!