Published on
12/1/23 12:06 pm

Identify hidden supply chain risks

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Identify hidden supply chain risks

Supply chains lie at the heart of millions of organizations around the world. In some cases, 50% to 80% of a company’s costs can be directly linked to supply chain efforts. In fact, one of the most common KPIs across businesses in all industry sectors is delivering to the customer on time – and if you have a disruption, you fail.

“…70% of organizations polled indicated that they had suffered some sort of supply chain disruption. Within that same group, 2% of those polled revealed that they had taken a hit of over $50 million from these disruptions.”

Experts at Dun & Bradstreet often express surprise that many companies have limited visibility into which of their Tier 1 suppliers have risk and exposures stemming from sub-tier suppliers. Essentially, they don’t know who supplies their suppliers. Known as Tier N, these sub-tier entities branch out to various lower levels in the supply chain, and often little is known about their risk exposures. In some cases, these Tier N organizations appear shrouded in mystery compared to the transparency of Tier 1 suppliers.

This lack of visibility translates to vulnerability. Not knowing the depth of your supply chain leaves you open to unfortunate disruptions to “business as usual” that can cost in the tens of millions of dollars. But achieving a deep understanding of your supply chain is harder than it sounds. Data on your supply network is often fragmented, unreliable, and stratified across diverse locations and business entities. Even if you succeed in drilling down and creating an accurate map of your supply chain, the data you’ve diligently gathered becomes obsolete and outdated very quickly.

Most Global Organizations Are at Risk for Supply Chain Disruption

So, how serious are these disruption events? According to a poll taken by BCI Supply Chain Resilience in 2016, 70% of organizations polled indicated that they had suffered some sort of supply chain disruption. Within that same group, 2% of those polled revealed that they had taken a hit of over $50 million from these disruptions.  

Top 5 Causes of Supply Chain Disruption

  • Unplanned IT and telecommunications outages
  • Loss of talent/skills
  • Cyber-attack and data breaches
  • Transport-network disruption
  • Outsource failure

And where are those disruptions occurring? Mostly around Tier 1 direct suppliers, but almost half occur below in the Tier N territory, and many companies are not actively analyzing where exactly these disruptions are happening and why. Too many organizations take the dismissive attitude of “It’s happening under Tier 1? I don’t know anything about that. Not much we can do.” These companies need to assume a proactive stance in capturing these disruptions and learning how to prevent their negative impacts across the organization. The three primary issues we must consider when analyzing supply chain sub-tiers are:

3 Issues to Consider When Analyzing Supply Chain Sub-Tiers Are:

  1. Sudden risk for changing regulations or natural hazards: This can manifest in the form of legislation passing in the country where your Tier N supplier is located. Or your supplier may reside in a geographically high-risk region of the globe. For instance, the Covid-19 worldwide emergency that we are living right now, has led to a temporary stoppage of certain facilities across the world from all kinds of industries.  
  2. Poor visibility: It’s difficult to identify Tier N suppliers. Some reside in unstable countries subject to the whims of changing governments or of competing factions. You can adjust your supply chain if you know that a specific Tier N supplier manufactures items in a country on the brink of civil war. 54% of executives admit that their firms do not have visibility beyond Tier 1 (KPMG).
  3. Top priority: You need to understand the profound impact that Tier N disruptions can have on your organization and financial health. Simply put, Tier N disruptions can create a domino effect. According to Accenture, 80% of companies worldwide see better protection of the supply chain as a top priority. As organizations look to reduce costs, they must be careful not to increase risk or danger of disruption at the same time. To continue the journey of improvement, you need top-down support from the executive team and should align the different functional silos in your organization to drive resilience in your supply chain.

How Organizations Protect Themselves from Tier N Disruptions?

By using advanced analytics. To protect your assets, apply the latest, most accurate advanced analytics technology to map Tier N supply relationships and develop a plan for risk transference solutions to disruption events – even for the most complex supply chain scenarios.  

Identifying alternative suppliers to help you source goods and materials that you need for your business to continue is what CIAL Dun & Bradstreet can help you with.  Even suppliers you have trusted, and had confidence with, for many years can still fail you at times of crisis. Remember, even though you might not currently have direct tier 1 supplier impact: your suppliers might already be experiencing crisis with their suppliers.  This can form a collapse in your Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 supplier network.     

Don’t risk it. Prevention is always the best answer.

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