According to the World Economic Forum's most recent Global Risk Report, natural disasters are the single most likely supply chain disruption. Extreme weather also ranks second (behind only terrorist attacks) for potential impact.

East coast supply chains just got a painful reminder of why it ranked so highly. Thanks to a pair of recent blizzards, supply chain managers throughout the region are busy shoveling, salting, and hoping the worst is over. Looking to keep your supply chain from freezing over? Here's some risk mitigation strategies from the Procurement experts at Source One.

1. Build the Right Team
Identify members of your Procurement team who excel under pressure and establish a crisis response unit. Charged with making decisions and communicating those decisions, they'll ensure cool heads prevail when the weather takes a turn for the worse. Lost or compromised communication is almost a given during a natural disaster. A savvy and flexible team will ensure that no component of your supply chain gets lost in the fog.

2. Ask Suppliers for Disaster Plans
Disaster preparedness is everybody's business. Strive to align your company with vendors who've made risk management a priority. Review your suppliers' plans regularly, share them with your team, and encourage close collaboration when disaster strikes.

3. Maintain Detailed Procedures
Planning ahead is everything when it comes to managing supply chain risks. Procurement should take the lead in developing plans for avoiding and responding to natural disasters. Establishing and communicating these plans are a great way for Procurement to differentiate itself as a leader within your organization.

4. Monitor Regions for Threats
Simply put, certain regions are more vulnerable to natural disasters than others. In most industries, it's impossible to avoid high-risk areas altogether. That's why awareness and maintenance are so essential. Consider every variable, communicate with your suppliers, and work together to develop risk management strategies.

Even the best-prepared supply chains are susceptible to natural disasters. As weather grows increasingly extreme and unpredictable, it's important that supply chain managers learn to prepare for and respond to the unexpected. Keep these strategies in mind next time you're on damage control.

1. Stay Organized
Don't let chaotic weather turn your office into a disaster zone. Detailed policies and procedures are nothing if your team can't put them into practice. Maintain organization and ensure your team is following the disaster response plans you've put in place.

2. Communicate
It's challenging to maintain open lines of communication during a natural disaster. That does not, however, mean that it's impossible. Remain transparent and communicative with stakeholders, suppliers, and co-workers throughout your disaster response process. Communication will make it easier to collaborate, and collaborating will make it easier to get things back on track.

3. Adjust Accordingly
Your disaster response plan will never go exactly the way you imagined. Fluid situations call for a fluid response. Make sure your entire team is ready to make put any necessary adjustments into place. Whether you've got to change schedules, re-route suppliers, or contend with a newly remote workforce, it's always crucial to stay flexible.

Looking for extra help weather-proofing your supply chain? Reach out the Supply Management team at Source One today.

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