Port Strike, Middle East Unrest: Signs of Need for Supply Chain Risk Management

Manassas, Va.July 1, 2014INSIGHT, Inc., an international provider of planning solutions that power supply chain design, is concerned that businesses aren’t prepared for potential supply chain disruptions that could undermine the health of their bottom line. Current examples include the potential West Coast port strike, which could shut down 30 ports stretching from San Diego to Washington state, and unrest in the Middle East, which could cause gas prices in the U.S. to go over $5 per gallon and potentially set off another economic downturn.

“Companies need to have strategic plans in place to mitigate supply chain risks caused by everything from natural disasters to socio-economic and political unrest that may cut off critical raw material suppliers, restrict transportation modes, and shut down a plant or other facility, causing major disruptions in supply chains,” said Dr. Jeff Karrenbauer, president and co-founder, INSIGHT, Inc. 

A recent study conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Retail Federation shows that the U.S. economy could lose as much as $2.5 billion a day if prolonged West Coast port shutdowns occur. Negotiations are under way for a new contract with West Coast dockworker. Twelve years ago, the port of Long Beach shut down for 10 days, costing the U.S. economy $1 billion per day.

Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria began an offensive that saw vast swaths of northern Iraq fall out of government hands, causing fuel prices to rise. Experts predict gas prices could go over $5 per gallon if the crisis continues. Rising fuel prices have a trickle-down effect in supply chains, causing profits to decrease.

INSIGHT helps companies take a holistic look at their supply chain, including determining optimal network designs, identifying vulnerabilities, developing mitigating strategies, including alternative raw material and manufacturing sourcing plans, determining optimal inventory policies and levels, and more to sustain companies affected by current events. INSIGHT also offers supply chain audit services to help companies uncover the vulnerabilities within their supply chains and then create plans to mitigate these risks. 

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