Supply Chain Management has a significant influence on business goals and therefore provides competitive advantage, when designed appropriately in regards to meet business objectives. However, in Supply Chain management goals can be achieved in two ways: efficiently or effectively. While effectiveness means that achieving a predefined goal can be guaranteed even if conditions are adverse, efficiency refers to minimal spending of resources to reach this goal. The primarily purpose of a Supply Chain is to satisfy customer’s demand, the availability of resources and the functionality of Supply Chain processes, therefore, needs to be guaranteed.
The effectiveness in the context of Supply Chain management includes these aspects. In contrast, purely efficiently designed Supply Chains provide the possibility of higher competitive advantages. Supply Chain efficiency refers to a co-stand waste minimal execution of Supply Chain activities. Recently, series of reported Supply Chain failures has shown that when efficiency is the sole objective, there is little buffer to enable continuity or recovery in the event of a disruption.
Each process and decision in business is prone to uncertainty. Since wrong assessments and misjudgments may lead to unforeseen developments, which may have important consequences when detected (too) late, uncertainties need to be continuously monitored and managed. Along with the increasing number of relevant uncertainties, the importance assigned to risk considerations has grown.
Supply Chain risk should reflect the potential non-achievement of corporate goals due to ineffective or inefficient Supply Chain processes. However, most approaches concentrate on reducing monetary or financial consequences of uncertain and unexpected developments. Only few concentrates on effectiveness-based aspects like service level. The majority of approaches, however, focuses on a purely efficiency-based representation: when effectiveness is considered, it is measured in terms of the sighted efficiency figure (costs or profit).
Supply Chain risk is the potential loss for a Supply Chain in terms of its target values of efﬁciency and effectiveness evoked by uncertain developments of Supply Chain characteristics whose changes were caused by the occurrence of triggering-events.
The international engineering standard ISO14971 defines and measures a risk R as the product of probability and harm of an event e: R = PeSe, where Se and Pe refer to the severity and probability of e respectively. Efforts must be invested in-gathering, analyzing and assessing information to asses supply chain risk. Some important considerations of Risk Management are as follows:
Cumulative Supply Chain risks intensify as they propagate along the Supply Chain processes.
When it is not possible to fully quantify Supply Chain risk through risk measures, still Supply Chain risk and its related core characteristics need to be represented within Supply Chain models.
In order to truly balance Supply Chain efficiency with Supply Chain effectiveness develop a system dynamics model for balancing inventory level and service level.
If target values of efﬁcient-and-effective based Supply Chain goals are too tight, these objectives can be mutually exclusive. For example, a targeted service level of 100% in addition with a sighted level of zero logistic cost might be impossible.
Supply Chain risk is regarded as a subjective concept that relies on the individual’s assessment of potential outcomes, rather than an objective concept. Risk attitudes and individual or organizational preferences, therefore, have a decisive inﬂuence on the measurement of future Supply Chain performance and consequently co-determine Supply Chain decisions.
Supply Chain managers should ﬁrst evaluate the risk tolerance level of the ﬁrm before making decisions that need to last for the long run.
BE, PE, CDDP, CSCM, CSCA,CSCP, CSSC
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
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