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Using Notification Technology for Supply Chain Disruptions

In today’s globally connected business environment, companies of all types and sizes are sourcing raw materials, components and wholesale products from a highly diverse set of international providers. At the same time, companies strive to hold a minimal amount of inventory, preferring instead that materials arrive from a supplier “just in time.”


The Business Continuity Institute’s Horizon Scan 2015 takes an in-depth look at the business preparedness of 760 organizations worldwide. The results reveal what Business Continuity Managers fear are the most prevalent threats to their organization’s continuity. The top 10 list of concerns was published in this year’s annual report.

In this blog series, we are examining these threats, along with ways mass notification services can help neutralize them. This post’s topic: supply chain disruptions.

While these practices make great business sense, the complexity of managing a just-in-time supply chain across all corners of the globe adds additional risk to the organization. Transportation delays, strikes, embargoes, plant/facility fires, political unrest, natural disasters, etc., can impact an organization’s ability to deliver product to market.

Perhaps this is why resilience managers consider supply chain disruptions as a top 10 global threat to business continuity, according to a recent survey by the BCI. In fact, this item moved up 11 places from last year’s list, indicating a growing concern (and possibly a shift in resilience managers’ responsibilities).

In addition to the number of best practices one might find in managing supply chain risk, consider these ideas for utilizing emergency notification technology to help minimize the impact of supplier disruptions:

Give important suppliers the ability to launch limited internal notifications.Sophisticated notification services provide for flexibility in assigning administrative rights. This means you could give certain suppliers the limited ability to launch a rapid, multimodal notification to key people within your organization as soon as a disruption occurs, ensuring contingency plans are enacted as soon as possible.

Deploy content triggered alerts for automated notifications. Many companies today utilize technologies such as RFID for tracking products, containers, etc. This information often feeds into a centralized inventory management system. By integrating a full-featured notification service like Send Word Now with the company’s inventory system, multimodal alerts can be generated automatically when certain thresholds are met or minimum quantities are reached. This allows managers to identify problems immediately and begin finding alternative solutions.

Rapidly mobilize response teams using notification technology. In response to supply chain breaks, managers often need to quickly convene a conference call in order to assess the situation and determine next steps. Notification services can be used to shorten the response time by calling everyone on the global response team at once, delivering a consistent message and allowing them to transfer into a conference bridge with the touch of a button (no separate bridge number, PIN, etc. required).

Use notification to inform resellers, retail stores or customers. When disruptions occur, rapid and accurate communication can help uncover solutions or protect important relationships. Notification services can be used to immediately communicate with selling entities such as company retail stores or other resellers, or it can be utilized to communicate delays or instructions to the end customer via phone call, email or SMS message.

Supply chain disruptions can have a significant impact on the health and reputation of your business. Prepare your organization to deal with these unexpected events, and remember just how valuable mass notification services can be for supporting effective supply chain management.

Other articles in the series:

What Are You Afraid Of? Top Threats to Business Continuity: Unplanned IT/Telecom Outages & Interruptions to Utility Supply

What Are You Afraid Of? Top Threats to Business Continuity–Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches