Today's Biggest Supply Chain Threat?
By Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3
Are You Ignoring A Big Supply Chain Threat?
What if your most critical supplier suddenly had no Internet capabilities for an extended period of time? What if there suddenly was no Internet? How would your organization survive?
Think a long, worldwide Internet outage is impossible? Think again.
The Internet is showing signs of vulnerability at a time when business is depending on it the most. Last month, our website was brought down for days by a DDoS attack. (Student access to courses, though, was virtually uninterrupted thanks to the use of a backup site.)
When a site like ours gets attacked the way that "household names" like Twitter or CNN.com have, it shows that any supplier of yours could be a target. But website downtime is only the tip of the iceberg. I personally know of two companies whose entire Internet capabilities for employees have been down for months due to Internet security problems.
These types of situations are likely to become worse and more widespread. In the book "Cyber War," authors Richard Clark and Robert Knake write "If cyber warriors crash networks, wipe out data, and turn computers into doorstops, then a financial system could collapse, a supply chain could halt, a satellite could spin out of orbit into space, an airline could be grounded. These are not hypotheticals. Things like this have already happened."
Governments are responding to this threat. But part of the response may make you more concerned than at ease. For example, the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, if passed into law, would give the President of the United States of America the power to shut down the Internet for up to four months.
Leading companies avoid depending too heavily on a single supplier due to risk. But, if all of your suppliers depend too heavily on the Internet, the potential for a long, worldwide Internet outage represents perhaps the biggest threat to your supply chain.
Are you prepared to conduct procurement in a world without the Internet? You better be.
I suggest that you research the vulnerability of the Internet, express to management any concerns about Internet over-dependence, and use these steps to develop a contingency plan for an "Internetless" supply chain:
- Ask your organization "How would we conduct business if the Internet was unavailable to anyone for an extended period of time?" Then, document those ideas and begin transforming the document into an actionable plan.
- Ask your critical suppliers "How would you conduct business if the Internet was unavailable to anyone for an extended period of time?" and require formal, documented responses. Scrutinize their responses and work with them to ensure readiness.
Are you tired of not getting enough opportunities, respect, and money out of your procurement career? Well, guess what? Nothing will change unless you take action towards becoming a world-class procurement professional.
Earning your SPSM® Certification is the action to take if you want to bring the most modern procurement practices into your organization and achieve your career potential. Download the SPSM Certification Guide today to learn how to get started on your journey to a more rewarding procurement career!
Are you a procurement leader whose team isn't achieving the results you know are possible? Maybe it's not enough cost savings. Or frustrating performance from the supply base. Or dissatisfied internal customers.
You need a performance improvement plan that's easy to implement and quick to produce results. The NLPA can help.
Download our whitepaper "The Procurement Leader's Guide To A More Successful Team." You'll learn the 7 steps for transforming your staff into a results-producing, world-class procurement team.
Members of the NLPA get more than just articles like this by email. As a member, you also get access to:
- The Procurement Training & Certification Starter Kit
- The latest Purchasing & Supply Management Salaries Report
- Leading-Edge Supply Management™ magazine
- Members-only webinars 10x per year
- And more!
If you haven't been taking advantage of these benefits, why not log in and start now?
Copyright 2010. This article is the property of Next Level Purchasing and may not be copied or republished in any form without the express written consent of Next Level Purchasing.
Click here to request republishing permission.