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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  02 Jul 2010

LOGISTICS: SA Participates in Global Supply Chain Risk Survey


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SAPICS (The Association for Operations Management of Southern Africa) has recently collaborated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Transportation and Logistics (MIT CTL) in Boston USA, for a global supply chain risk survey. Johannesburg based Imperial Logistics, a leading global company in logistics and supply chain management, is proud to be the South African sponsor of this unique initiative. The purpose of the risk survey was to determine the common perceptions and attitudes of companies and individuals towards supply chain risk management, and to identify the unique challenges faced in this field within a South African context.

This is the first time that South Africa has participated in such a distinguished survey. More than 2,400 respondents from 70 countries took part, of which 250 were from South Africa. Review teams in 12 countries were set up to analyse regional data and to provide insight and context to the unique environment into which the results fit. Imperial Logistics led the team in South Africa, and will continue to be the motivation for the next phase of the project, where the cross-network risk impact will be analysed further.

“Due to increasing international trade and the global significance of supply chains there is an inter-dependence between multi-national buyers and sellers of goods to understand and manage local and international risk,” says Marius Swanepoel, Chief Executive Officer, Imperial Logistics. “It is imperative that we understand where these risks manifest and how to sustainably manage them, both from an Imperial Logistics and customer perspective.”

According to Dr Bruce Arntzen, senior research director at the MIT CTL, supply chain risk managers are constantly being pulled in to fight fires to deal with small to large crises all across the supply chain. Bruce goes on to explain that having a compelling display of the end-to-end supply chain with the risk pathways highlighted will help management grasp the significance with greater ease. From the survey results it was found that South African respondents have the mindset that ‘prevention is better than cure’, and believe that preventative actions are better directed in a centralised manner, whereas event response actions should be directed from a local, de-centralised level. Respondents indicated that common internal risk factors include the likes of transportation carrier failure, raw material supply and cost fluctuations. Perceptions of external risk factors included concerns over electricity supply, protracted labour disputes and poor economic/recessionary conditions. The majority of companies in South Africa either do not work with, or work ineffectively with suppliers and customers to reduce overall supply chain risk. This proves that significant scope exists for greater shared opportunities for organisations with a strong risk management mindset.

In global terms the South African logistics industry is relatively small, however cargo owners within all industries realise the benefits of outsourcing their logistics activities to leaders in local and global logistics. Forward thinking logistics providers with a proven track record of excellence when it comes to transportation provision, cost efficiency and supply chain risk management seem to be the preferred choice of the users of logistics services. “Imperial Logistics is at the forefront of unique and forward thinking solutions, and will continue to lead the way in terms of end-to-end risk management,” says Swanepoel.

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