PANEL 4: Coping with major ‘un-planable’ disruptions in enterprise supply chains

Prof. Martin Christopher, Emeritus Professor, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University UK

  • Dr. Mahender Singh, Chairman, Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation; Executive Director, MIT Global SCALE Network
  • Michael Whiting, Visiting Lecturer in Humanitarian Logistics, Cranfield University; Chairman, CILT UK Humanitarian Emergency Logistics Professionals (HELP) Forum.
  • Dr. Hendrik Seliger, VP Supply Chain Management, ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology business group
  • Jake Barr, CEO/ Principal, BlueWorld Supply Chain Consulting
Panel members are subject to change without notice.

Prof. Martin Christopher 
Prof. Martin      

Sudden unexpected failures in supply chains can be due to multiple causes, including:

• Disruptions: natural disasters, terrorism, and war;
• Delays: due to inflexibility of supply;
• Systems: failure of technology infrastructure;
• Forecasts: inaccurate forecasts, lack of forecasting;
• Capacity: capacity inflexibility; and the list goes on.

So many risks abound in the way supply chains are designed and operated. For instance, if lean principles are taken too far, and stocks of components and finished goods in the pipeline are reduced to very low levels to cut costs, it will become susceptible to even the smallest disruption in supply or fluctuation in demand. In these situations, it is prudent to hold reserves of inventory along the supply chain in different stages of completion. This in-built redundancy costs money, but has to be offset against the cost of lost sales and lost customers through non-supply. Given the rise in terrorism, which has injected even more uncertainty into the operation of global supply chains, the solution is to put much more forethought into developing risk mitigation strategies, before something happens. The panel will surface and debate such strategies