“Resilinc also offers their dashboard, which is built very tailored to our supply chain,” said Cleary. “So once we say ‘map 400 factories around the world that are providing things into our supply chain and all the risk variables associated with them,’ what they’ll do is monitor those 400 specific sites for us and we will get daily alerts as to events that are happening or emerging events that may be of concern. And so that kind of a dashboard too is very critical to us because even if we were to be able to get to that basic level and understand what the exact addresses are of each of our 400 factories and what their risk profile is, monitoring those on a daily basis is again, a very large activity,” he explained.
While the IT storage hardware solutions provider already had risk mitigation strategies in place—such as its business continuity plan (BCP), supply chain disruption disaster simulations implemented annually at its partner sites and buffer inventory—it stressed the importance of incorporating all BCP plan, risk mitigation and anticipatory strategies holistically and from the ground up.
“When we first started to look at developing a platform and not just having a set of discrete capabilities, it became pretty obvious to us that it was a major endeavor and it was a significant investment in resources,” said Cleary. “The issue with these types of systems is, once you create them, you have to feed them and take care of them. I think that anybody who seriously takes a look at it in a thoughtful way and really tries to understand what it would take to do it internally, would probably come to the conclusion that this is an outsourced opportunity.”
Engaged with Resilinc as of Q4 of 2012, EMC expects to have 95 percent of its 400-plus sites mapped by Resilinc by the end of 2013.
“What Resilinc provides is really what we need to facilitate this bottoms-up approach—they provide us with the resources to help us build the data out and help us understand the data,” Cleary added. “And so it really becomes not only just a platform but an offshoot and a resource bank of people to help us collect and analyze the data that we would have had to build internally. Their business motto is they can do it more efficiently across a number of supply chains. Being able to leverage that back and forth is of huge value to somebody like EMC.”
A road better planned for supply chain risk mitigation
Aside from the already obvious factor that multi-tier mapping and visibility into one’s supply chain is an increasing issue businesses must factor, is perhaps also the implication of such a demand for holistic risk mitigation strategies that impact such technology providers of today. As the awareness and demand for improved risk management processes increases, technology providers who provide risk mitigation toolsets must be prepared to address such demand at all times now.
“This class of software is at its very early stages,” said O’Laughlin. “When you think about all the supply chain risks that companies face, it’s everything from the financial stability to the performance risk to their supply base or their supplier’s supply base and the geopolitical risks—where are these suppliers located and what risks are inherent in the locations in which they are located? There are lots of different risks and each of these technology solutions really only addresses a sliver of them. So the question becomes, how do you put a 360-degree view together? I think all of the platforms want to be the integration platform and be the over-arching tool. But I think they are still in the very early stages and we’ll still see a lot of innovation and a lot of shakeout over the next three to five years as the technology vendors compete for a piece of this puzzle,” he concluded.