How natural disasters affect the supply chain — and how to prepare for the worst

Source(s): Thomas Publishing Company

By Helen Carey


Although the ultimate impact of natural disasters is hard to predict in advance, businesses can take a few simple steps to ensure preparedness and speedy recovery.

  1. Create a response and recovery plan. 
    Take time to develop well-thought-out, detailed guidelines and directions for team members, and be sure that everyone is on board and familiar with their duties. Look into backup suppliers and review the plan regularly to identify areas for improvements or adjustments.
  2. Assess supply chain risks regularly, and get to know the suppliers you partner with. 
    Find out if they have their own disaster response/preparedness plans in place, and what they entail. Creating a supplier scorecard can be helpful for analyzing risk levels and potential problems. This will guide you in determining which third parties are most useful for your business in the event of a disaster.
  3. Understand the risks facing your organization’s reputation. 
    In the event of a natural disaster, how will your business fare in the public eye? Will people look upon your supply chain as reliable and responsible, putting consumers first, or will people be posting on social media about the potentially life-threatening issues they’re experiencing as a result of your poor planning?
  4. If disaster does strike, make sure all investigations are thorough and well conducted. 
    This is an opportunity to learn from mistakes, identify what was done right, and reassess your preparedness plans in relation to the findings. If a disaster occurs in the future, you’ll be better able to take it on.


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