May 29, 2018
An early morning phone call
By: Pierre A. David

After five years of experience in international logistics at Superior Drill, a specialty drillbit company, you have gained a reputation as a person who has seen it all and can shepherd any shipment to any destination, anywhere in the world. However, you are still surprised by an early morning phone call from your supplier of industrial diamonds in a southern African country. Troops have marched on the capital, seized the presidential palace and prohibited all cargo ships from leaving the country.

The supplier is clear that the situation is very unstable. She has no idea when they can resume shipping the industrial diamonds, which your company relies on for production. An interruption of more than a few days will likely impact your company’s ability to deliver products to your customers on time.

As the international logistics manager, you know it is your responsibility to find a concrete solution to this situation so that your company can ensure its deliveries are not interrupted. You must ensure that products arrive as scheduled at your customers’ facilities so that their operations are not affected.

Thankfully, you had already started implementing plans for how to manage a major disruption in your company’s international supply chain. Receiving this phone call was the result of a communication plan you have created based on identifying the environmental risks your supply chain faces and identifying methods to decrease the potential impact of such risks prior to their occurrence, as well as mitigating them after they occur.

However, you still need to address several questions. What actions do you need to take to protect your company’s assets in southern Africa? What steps do you need to take to protect your company’s employees and possibly your supplier’s employees? What alternatives should you consider to ensure that there is a continued supply of diamonds to your production plant? What possible costs will your company have to face?

The Accenture Academy courses Environmental Risks in the Supply Chain, Preparing for Environmental Risks in the Supply Chain, and Responding to Environmental Risks in the Supply Chain will help you answer these questions, manage these types of environmental risks, and mitigate their effects on your supply chain.

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