Supply chain disruptions...but not the usual suspect

Supply chain disruptions...but not the usual suspect

Posted on September 12, 2011 0 Comments

Earthquakes, hurricanes, power outages, SARS outbreak are all examples of external events that can create disruptions to your extended supply chain. What about other events? How about a sporting event? For those of you that are not fans of the oval ball (the rugby ball that is) the Rugby World Cup has kicked off this past week. So what does this mean, why should your extended supply chain care? Simple - late nights watching the matches, too much lager, extended water cooler chats, missing work due to "illness" name a few unintended results of the sporting festivities. Think this is a non factor to the work place? Think again!

For those readers in the United States we are all aware that every March comes the NCAA men's collegiate basketball tournament and with it office pools, seemingly non stop games and suspected drop in productivity. Similar impacts occur when it comes to other large scale global sporting events - such as the Olympics or Football World Cups (soccer for North American readers). And if you are not convinced such sporting events can impact your extended supply chain - how many events can cause warring sides to pause during such an event - click here to read about how the World Cup stopped a civil war? With the Rugby World Cup upon us it is a good time to reflect on how such an event can impact your extended supply chain.

  • Supply Chain demand impact - during the 1970 Football World Cup, the games were going to be broadcast in color for the first time, creating a lift in color television sales. Same occurred during the 2006 World Cup when the matches were in high-definition for the first time. Sales of HDTVs went up (the same cycle occurs in North America prior to the Super Bowl). How will your supply chain react if demand spikes because fans want more HDTVs or if the number of rugby players looking to purchase your boots triples over night?
  • Strain on productivity - when you have a large scale sports event that will go on for a few weeks you need to anticipate potential drops in your work effectiveness. As mentioned above, workers from all aspect of your supply chain are fans, how productive will they be if the nation they support plays deep into the tournament or if they reside in the host nation? I recall a story of a CEO of telecom company being in Mexico in 1986 being told that if business did not get done before the start of the World Cup that he might as well wait until the tournament's completion. Otherwise the entire nation was going to be distracted by the football. If your extended supply chain relies upon nations that are active participants you need to be aware of the potential impact on your work force during the tournament.
  • Host nation pop - the host nation will get an economic pop, from infrastructure improvements to influx of tourists and corporations looking for advertising. If your supply chain offers relevant services then you need to be prepared for unexpected demand for your services, on the flip side your business might be negatively impacted as resources and efforts usually pointed in your direction are realigned to support the event.

Large national sporting events ellicit national pride from fans, but they also have supply chain impact. How will your extended supply chain react? Ignore these disruptions at your own peril, while the impact might not be as clear as when a port falls victim to a strike or volcanic ash shuts down airspace, such sporting events can and will impact your extended supply chain. Without visibility into your extended supply chain, the impacts, good or bad, will be magnified through out your business.

So who will win this version of the Rugby World Cup? While I wish I could say my beloved France will somehow pull it together, I fear their run will end in the 1/4 finals against nemesis England. Semi-finals will look like the Tri Nations: England v Australia and South Africa v New Zealand. Look for the Kiwis to win the title on their home turf.

Want to talk more about how events, such as the sporting events but also more "traditional" supply chain events can create blind spots in your extended supply chain and how to better deal with them? Join us at Progress Revolution in a week, maybe we can also catch a rugby match as well!


Guy Courtin

View all posts from Guy Courtin on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.


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