Thursday, September 11, 2014

Risk Associated with Supply Chains

During the first week, we were introduced to supply chains.  Since I transferred into the class late, I missed the lecture, but from reading the slides I learned so much about the concept of a supply chain and it became visible to me in everyday life. I began to see supply chains reflected in everything, from the food I buy in the grocery store to the mass-produced clothes I wear every day.  However, even after this, I still perceived supply chains as being in somewhat of a vacuum, isolated and unaffected by outside occurrences.  However, this article reminded me that like everything else, supply chains can be affected by outside events. 

This article touches on the risks associated with global supply chains.  Briefly, for 18 months these risks decreased, however as global crises (like the Ebola virus and the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East) escalate, experts were beginning to worry about these risks rising again. 

Most people overlook the danger associated with non-threatening systems that are regularly given access to exclusive events, companies, and government organizations. Supply chains can be used as mechanisms to spread not only business related supplies, but also as mechanisms of war and oppression.  Food supply chains can be cut off from certain areas as a tactic to starve a perceived enemy.  Supply chain can be used to transport weapons and spread disease during times of war.  These are just a couple of examples.

As a result, I am beginning to think of supply chain safety.  What precautions are taken to ensure that the products being transported are always safe? Is it standard practice for companies to map out every possible route for their supply chains in case one or even two routes are shut down? 

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