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Knowing the Score

Disruptions Make Supply Chain Risk Scoring an Essential Management Discipline

Supply chain disruption has unfortunately become something of a norm. The interconnected, time-sensitive, and global nature of today’s supply chains means that an event can quickly have a broad ripple effect. And there is a growing range of potential disruptive triggers out there, from product recalls to cyberattacks, political turmoil, and violent storms.

Supply chain disruptions can emerge quickly and unexpectedly. As McKinsey & Company noted, “Consider the sudden eruption of a long dormant volcano that disrupts a supplier you didn’t know was in your supply chain….” Predicting such scenarios “is likely impossible for even the most risk-conscious managers.”

But being unable to predict supply chain disruptions does not mean that you can’t prepare for them.

With the broad range of threats facing operations today, companies need to have a formal, structured approach to identifying, understanding, and managing supply chain risk. Developing a disciplined approach can be a daunting challenge—but it can be made easier with a risk-scoring assessment that uncovers the supply chain’s weak points and identifies where disruptions are likely to have the biggest impact.

A Self-Diagnostic Tool Designed to Measure Supply Chain Risk Exposure

Effective supply chain risk management must be as thorough as possible. For example, our Dynamic Supply Chain Risk Scoring methodology provides a rigorous process that includes an in-depth analysis of the Bill of Materials (BOM) for products and the supply chains associated with each material. It evaluates supply chains across a set of major risk categories, based on Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FEMA).

For example, it identifies problems such as:

  • Rigid or overly specialized component specifications that can limit the ability to adjust to supply chain disruptions.
  • Over-reliance on custom products and the limited number of suppliers that can provide those products.
  • Lack of visibility into the lifecycle and likely end-of-life dates for key components.
  • Insufficient inventory buffers that increase the risk of supply stockouts.

After identifying any weaknesses and vulnerabilities, Dynamic’s methodology ranks and prioritizes specific risks based on the likelihood of a potential disruption and the level of financial, reputational, and operational harm it might cause. Armed with that prioritized list, supply chain managers can allocate resources to target their top threats and move proactively to mitigate potential risks—modifying sourcing strategies to spread risk across more suppliers, for example, or stocking up on or finding alternatives for components that are reaching the end of their life. Over time, they can use the assessment as a guide to re-evaluating specific risks as conditions change.

When performed correctly, a risk evaluation and scoring effort is of significant undertaking. It can take several weeks to complete and involves responding to dozens of detailed questions. But the task is well worth the time that’s required.

To provide insight into the range of risks that should be covered, Dynamic offers a complimentary self-diagnosis checklist consisting of 10 questions that companies can use to quickly gain initial insights into their level of supply chain exposure, and better understand how a full risk-scoring effort could help them.

In today’s environment, companies can’t predict where the next supply chain disruption will be coming from. But they can build and strengthen their risk management capabilities and make their supply chains more resilient. A thorough risk-scoring initiative can be a powerful first step in the effort to take a more comprehensive, disciplined approach to managing supply chain risk.

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