There’s no question as to the havoc that natural disasters leave behind. Catastrophic events that made headlines in the last decade—including the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011, Thailand’s flooding and Hurricane Katrina—not only impacted immediate communities and businesses but disrupted global supply chains and surrounding countries. But other disruptive events that impact the supply chain are relevant as well. Labor strikes, bankruptcy, manufacturing declines—they all rank as disruptions to the global supply chain that impact its line of growth. Needless to say, supply chain risk will always be a prominent factor. And businesses need to take a proactive approach in utilizing the right technologies and strategies to prepare for the unexpected.
“Everybody thinks of supply chain disruption as the events that happened in Japan and Thailand,” said Bindiya Vakil, President and Founder of Resilinc, Fremont, Calif. “But if you look back at the last several months, we witnessed multiple disruptions that have been caused not only by earthquakes and hurricanes but also by factory-related, labor-related and infrastructure-related problems. Power outages, labor disruptions, strikes, capacity issues, line stoppages, factory downtowns, supplier bankruptcy—we’ve witnessed this for several years. It’s not like we are past what happened in Japan and Thailand and everything is steady—that’s not the case. Today, companies are quite reactive in the supply chain space—they’re scrambling to get the information they need to react and recover and respond to these events as they are happening. And they don’t have to be.”
The provider of supply chain resiliency solutions enables customers to proactively plan for, monitor and respond to multi-tier disruptions in hours—rather than weeks or months—via its Supply Chain Mapping Solution. And while disaster response time typically depends on measuring its scope and magnitude, utilizing the Resilinc platform “helps make a marked difference in the reaction time compared to status quo,” Vakil confirmed.
Examining the effects
In the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent power outages, many Japanese suppliers were disrupted. To monitor and respond to the disasters, the procurement & supply chain team at Flextronics Milpitas piloted the Resilinc solution. The platform proved to be critically important in facilitating coordination and streamlining of the operational information needed for crisis response and recovery.
In the case of the Thailand flooding, when floodwaters breached the barriers protecting the Rojana Industrial Park, Resilinc sent an event notification to the key users at Flextronic Milpitas about the developments. The notification not only identified suppliers in the impact zone but also the parts on site and the products that were potentially disrupted.
“What is different about what Resilinc is doing is that we are looking at supply chain risks from a resiliency perspective more so than just from the risk aspect,” explained Jon Bovit, Chief Marketing Officer, Resilinc. “Right now, a lot of companies and vendors look at it purely from a supply chain risk perspective but I think you need to be more positive about it. And the positive side is that we can help customers be more resilient and bounce back—and that’s what we are trying to do—to enable companies to recover from a global multi-tier disruption of any type at any frequency including operational and catastrophic. It’s one thing to target risk but it’s another to help companies respond quickly,” Bovit said.
The differentiation factor
Resilinc’s cloud-based Supply Chain Mapping Solution connects with a customer’s data system so that products, parts, suppliers and all the tier dependencies and data analytics can be viewed over the network.
“Today, when you see a war room, you might think whiteboards or Excel type of tools—and that means extremely manual response capabilities,” said Vakil. “Resilinc is one of the first solutions that captures the actual manufacturing, distribution and warehousing footprint of suppliers. So instead, you have a virtual war room and people can access all the necessary supply chain information from one dashboard. Today, you have multiple tiers in the global supply chain to the point where you might not know where your supply chain dependency might be in the chain. We have the solution to proactively improve visibility, provide the analytics to protect your single points of failure proactively and have the strategies to mitigate disruptions quickly and in a cost-effective fashion.”
And whether operational or catastrophic, the platform pairs the mapping, analytics and information together with the monitoring of events as they occur, providing early notification to customers of those events.
“There are definite capabilities available in the market to address supply risk,” said Bovit. “But one key area that was really lacking in the markey was this capability to map the supply chain. It’s a complex area and the mapping is where our secret sauce lies. When you get the mapping down to the suppliers and their facilities, parts, product and revenue and you map all that together—now, any information you capture can be mapped down to those details. And that’s what’s really different about Resilinc,” he concluded.