The CSCMP Singapore conference 2014, entitled “Effective Strategies for Managing Supply Chain Risk: Assuring the Viability of Your Supply Chain”, attracted almost 200 high-ranking delegates from manufacturing, logistics, government and academia throughout Asia and the world.
In his opening speech, Mr. Teo Ser Luck, Singapore’s Minister of State for Trade and Industry, told delegates: “The logistics industry is an important part of Singapore’s economy, contributing 8% of our GDP in 2012. More importantly, as an island nation, Singapore is heavily dependent on the smooth functioning of our supply chains to ensure the uninterrupted supply of our food, fuel, and other daily necessities of life. I am therefore pleased that Singapore was selected to host this event, which brings together many leaders of the industry.”
He went on to state that Singapore is well positioned to support the supply chain risk management needs of companies looking to grow in Asia as a world-class transportation hub strategically located at the crossroads of major trade lanes. He added that Singapore has a strong pipeline of cross-disciplinary talents across different supply chain-relevant areas, and that the Government maintains a close working relationship with the industry to establish best practices in supply chain security.
He continued: “Singapore is honoured to have been chosen as a strategic location and partner by many global companies, and also to be the host of this year’s Conference. We are keen to continue our close partnership with the industry, and to learn from your experiences operating across the world.”
The conference itself focused on key supply chain risks, strategies for assessing them, and approaches for mitigating them once they occur. Among the major risks faced by global supply chains, speakers cited natural disasters, regulations, and quality breaches; several also highlighted the need to protect employees, partners, and customers involved in the supply chain.
Presenters identified assets, company image and brand reputation, service levels and business continuity as key elements all requiring protection. They stressed the importance of constantly reviewing strategies, with evaluations conducted at least annually.
Several speakers used the earthquake and resulting tsunami is Japan, the Icelandic volcano, and the floods in Thailand as examples of the problems risk management applications must typically confront, and demonstrated how their companies had deployed risk mitigation strategies. The need to focus on training staff, giving them appropriate resources for responding, and developing the expertise to employ those resources also figured strongly in advice to delegates. One very important point raised was the need to take risk evaluation beyond Tier One suppliers, possibly requiring them to engage Tier Two and Tier Three suppliers in the risk management process.
The need for diversification of suppliers and production points was also an element commonly-cited as essential in risk management strategy; the example was given of one large electronics company which ensures each supply line has three suppliers for every item required. Another showcased firm regularly practices business continuity drills with its key suppliers.
Delegates were advised that they should map their supply chains for exposure to risks such as floods, tornadoes, earthquakes and other disasters, producing separate maps for each eventuality.
The vital importance of communication was also stressed: the audience was told employees must know that their company will communicate if a major disaster occurred, and top management must demonstrate its awareness of, and commitment to, the risk management strategy.
Commenting on the conference, CSCMP CEO Rick Blasgen said: “We were delighted at the quality of speakers and attendants at this year’s event, representing some of the biggest names in global trade.
“Threats to supply chains are too easily ignored until the worst happens. Prevention – in this case through the exchange of best practices, ideas, and case studies – is not only better than a cure, but always less costly. We hope our delegates have gone back to their bases armed with ideas to minimize supply chain disruption if disaster strikes.”