Friday, August 28, 2015

Monitoring Tropical Storm Erika in Visual Command Center

We’ve been watching Tropical Storm Erika in Visual Command Center as the dangerous storm develops.

Erika has already caused deadly floods in the island of Dominica, and Florida has declared a state of emergency in every county as the storm approaches. Read more on CBS.

Visual Command Center helps organizations keep employees, operations and the supply chain safe during extreme weather and other risk events. It provides automatic alerts when risks threaten employee locations, facilities, supply routes and other critical assets, and powerful tools to assess and take efficient action to minimize the storm's impact.

Here's how the powerful command center software can be used to understand a developing risk event: 

Erika's path and forecast is visualized on an interactive map and timeline in Visual Command Center through its HurricaneMapping.com extension.
Visual Command Center displays the storm's path and other critical information -- weather conditions, rainfall totals, and more -- in relation to your organization's assets.
Zoom in to see an overview of the people, buildings and other assets in the storm's expected path.
Enhance your situational awareness by integrating the real-time risk picture with traffic cameras, social media, video management systems and other information sources and command center systems.

See it in action
Here’s an example of how Visual Command Center can be used by organizations to protect employees, facilities, supply chain and operations during a weather emergency: 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

3 tips for supply chain professionals handling the aftermath of the Tianjin explosions

Global organizations are still scrambling to assess and respond to last week’s explosions at the Chinese port of Tianjin.

If the impact is as long-lasting and severe as experts are predicting, we should expect to see winners and losers as this unfolds, much like we saw following the 2011 flooding in Thailand.

For those who dodged this bullet, this is your wake up call. 

As Paul Martyn, a Forbes contributor, wrote: “…if the Longshoremen at the Port of Long Beach decided to strike unexpectedly next week, the business effects for those without contingency plans could be strikingly similar.  That’s how tenuous multi-tier supply chains can be.”

Begin mapping your entire supply chain today, turn by turn and stop by stop. This work will be the foundation of your risk management efforts.

Also, start building contingency plans for likely disruptions (supplier shutdown, a strike at a critical port, or a natural disaster near a factory), and schedule regular tabletop exercises to talk with your entire team about how you’d handle these scenarios. Use the rehearsals to identify gaps or problems in your plans, and improve them while the stakes are low.

For those handling the aftermath of the explosions in Tianjin, I hope that your preparation is paying off as you get shipments moving and facilities back online. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • As you reroute shipments and make other changes to your supply chain, ensure you’re monitoring those new routes and areas for new risks. Your supply chain map should be a tool that’s part of your day-to-day work and something you are able to update as needed.
  • Remember that new ports may have different volume/capacity limits they can withstand, and there may be delays you’re not accustomed to – so you need to be prepared to respond. There are a whole new host of relationships to foster and manage from freight forwarder offices to customs departments.  Don’t short-change new relationships because they can have a huge impact when you are one of countless priorities!
  • Encourage your team to consider options that may provide a “profitable response.” Risk can easily become an opportunity. When an event impacts an industry as a whole, the most informed and prepared organization will recover faster and potentially grab market share from others.


If you are finding that you are not as well-prepared as you need to be and your company is not focused on end-to-end visibility of flow and risk, then please reach out to us to discuss. Command center technology can do the monitoring for you, providing automatic alerts when a risk is present near a supplier, manufacturer, retail location, or route, and then provide powerful tools to rapidly assess the threat and act to mitigate impact.

You can also learn more about these technologies, such as Visual Command Center for Supply Chain, on our website.


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.