Posted by: malstott | January 7, 2012

Risky Business

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe”    John Muir

The Alstott family is considering a move to a new provider for phone, internet and TV. We will save some money this way and given my cheap nature this is appealing in spite of the hassle. Wow, is it a hassle. I’ve intertwined the workings of my life with my personal email address. Healthcare, airline programs, internet sites, charity organizations, friends and probably many other places that I’ve forgotten all know me by that address. When I switch I risk being cut off!  Now some of this is ok. If you are like me you are getting more junk mail than useful mail and I’m ok losing touch there!  How can I get the good without the bad?  My plan is to have an overlap and for 1 month I will monitor my email in one system and proactively change all of my information with various services and people. Brilliant, eh? An even better idea would be to switch to an email service that doesn’t depend on my internet provider. At least I am thinking about alternatives to managing my risk proactively. Now I have to execute!

In the supply chain world we are, once again, in a recovery mode due to another natural disaster. The Thailand floods have put huge parts of that country into huge disarray. People have lost homes. Businesses are literally under water. Animals are dead, crops ruined and for a while alligators were swimming around in the streets. Terrible tragedy. Supply chains around the world are now madly trying to recover supply to satisfy customers. This profession is getting good at reacting to natural disaster,  but we should take the time to proactively manage our high risk materials. The NPI process isn’t complete without an assessment of risk. Products might launch with sole or single sourced parts but companies should know what those parts are and have an action plan for each. Ideally that is baked  right into an NPI launch plan so that prior to first ship the plan is in place. The plan can include  die banks, inventory, second locations, dual sets of tools and/or other risk mitigation ideas. 

Supply management is all about risk management. As John Muir says, we are tightly hitched to everything in the universe and the hitch is tightening as we evolve into a truly global economy!


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