Even in the face of ideal conditions, supply chain management is a highly complex process, full of intricacies there's a huge number of factors to learn and master, from pinpointing and procurement of raw materials, to forging partnerships with global suppliers , to logistics, and beyond. Throw in the wildly disruptive force of a natural disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake, wildfire or other catastrophe and the process can become upended. The supply chain function saw this idea in impactful action recently, with hurricanes wreaking havoc in Texas and Puerto Rico. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) surveyed members of its Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committees in order to gauge their professional opinion on how Hurricane Harvey might impact several key business metrics, and how shortages of input materials might be affected thanks to the severe storm. The findings were notable:
- Approximately two thirds (67%) predicted input materials pricing will be negative impacted over the next three months; 27% think prices will be negatively, or very negatively, affected.
- Most (56%) believe supplier deliveries will be at least somewhat negatively impacted over the next three months, and 19% think deliveries will be negatively, or very negatively, impacted.
- Respondents believe fuel, and petrochemical feed stocks and derivatives, could be in short supply for the next several months, affecting price and availability of things like gasoline, plastic resins, electrical components and more.
- Out of the 36 industries involved in the survey, 27 indicated potentially significant shortages, including Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Wholesale Trade; Machinery; Chemical Products; and others.
Additionally, Hurricane Irma disrupted a number of supply chains, most notably pharmaceuticals. Drug giants like Astra Zeneca and Eli Lilly are facing months of downtime thanks to the devastating winds and flooding. Most of the approximately 50 plants in Puerto Rico have backup power, but surrounding infrastructure is wrecked and, with the rest of the island without power for another three to six months, there's no staff to run operations. Such large-scale supply chain disruptions could bring a company to its knees, without the service of top-notch procurement professionals. In the face of a disaster, a firm's supply-chain staff needs to:
- Know the industry they're working in, inside and out
- Be able to forge good relationships with stakeholders across the board
- Anticipate potential disruptions in the supply chain (such as seasonal weather patterns)
- React nimbly to a crisis and formulate possible solutions
Such incidents further reinforce the need to ensure organizations have capable talent that can manage risk and suppliers in these trying times. If you're looking to recruit supply management and procurement professionals that can help you plan for all contingencies and elevate the performance of your team, please contact MRA Global. Our specialized team understands the true value of your most precious assets, i.e. your people and want to help you stay ahead of all potential disruptions.
Keywords: global sources, supply chain management, supply chain, recruitment, procurement