How to Effectively Combat Emerging Supply Chain Vulnerabilities

Feb 21, 2020 Arslan Hassan Arslan Hassan

Effectively managing the supply chain is an important factor for any company that is looking for ways to meet its customers’ demands. A supply chain is basically a network that connects a company with outside suppliers. The network comprises all the resources and activities involved in the interaction that takes place between a supplier and the company personnel. The supply chain encompasses the entire procedure that begins with product manufacturing and development and ends with the product being used by the consumer. 

Therefore, it is important to keep the supply chain running smoothly and free of any flaws. Any disruption in the supply chain will cause an overall disturbance in the company’s operations. Due to the complex activities that are part of the supply chain and the very nature of how the process works, it is common for the network to be subject to certain risks. Let’s discuss a few ways that can help combat supply chain vulnerabilities.


Three Problem Areas


 


In order to understand ways to deal with supply chain vulnerabilities. It is important to understand the problem areas that surround the supply chain network. 


1. Globalization 

You might think of globalization as the best thing to have ever happened in the fast-paced world of technology. Unfortunately, globalization comes with its fair share of disadvantages. It has made the supply chain network quite complex and more prone to risks. Catering to a wider customer base and new markets also require careful measures to predict the needs of the customers and the changing trends. 

Naturally, the demand for supply increases when things operate on a global level. A greater need for supply requires keeping track of the changing trends. As a result, monitoring large amounts of data and keeping track of all the information becomes more difficult. Above everything else, globalization makes it difficult to develop risk mitigation strategies as it becomes harder to handle risks that are not easily predicted. 


2. Cloud Computing

Another area of concern when considering supply chain management is cloud computing. Cloud-technology has no doubt, caused massive improvements in the supply chain mechanism. It improves efficiency by making it possible to access data anywhere. Moreover, it makes systems more flexible and scalable, makes it easy to track items and manage the entire project lifecycle smoothly. It also helps to locate any lost products and keep track of the inventory in an efficient manner. But just like a hardware element such as a coax cable if damaged, it can cause hindrance in your internet connections. Cloud technology can also sometimes affect your supply chain operations.

Shifting to cloud management creates a risky situation from the cloud vendor’s end. The use of cloud computing raises security concerns such as data breaches, which makes it difficult for companies to make this transition. Issues like your cloud vendor suffering from a cybersecurity attack, the time required to detect such a breach, and having the right knowledge about what steps to take when such a thing happens, should be considered. 


3. Edge Computing

Edge computing is a form of cloud computing that works on instant data rather than big data. This form of computing makes virtualization easy and deployable on a large number of devices. It offers certain features that make it ideal to be used in different industries. However, similar to the above two – edge computing can create issues for the supply chain as well. Let’s take the example of a chatbot. 

A chatbot that’s actually running on the device of your client but via your website, might trigger security issues that are difficult to identify for both you and your client. Since your chatbot is running through edge computing, it makes it difficult to track any arising issues on local web servers. A chatbot is just one example of how edge computing could lead to a data breach. 

How to Effectively Combat the Supply Chain Vulnerabilities

 



Supply chains are developed to manage cost effects and gain a competitive edge in the market through increased productivity. However, if your supply chain process is flawed and has additional costs that need to be taken care of simply to keep the chain running, the entire procedure loses its purpose. Let’s discuss three ways that can help combat the issues discussed above. 


1. Scale down risk factors on a global scale 

Before proceeding with signing away vendors at a global level, it would be beneficial to ask your vendors two questions:

- What country they are stationed in?

- Where the data is being stored?

This is important to know because data will be protected by the country the company is operating in. Let’s take the USA as an example. A company that is operating within the US will have the data protected under the US and international laws. But data protection may not be granted if one leaves that country. 

Similarly, Russians use a separate system for data protection according to their laws. The government may not be able to provide you the kind of data security that your business needs at a certain point in time. Therefore, do your homework before getting into things.


2. Control the supply chain where you must

As discussed above, the cloud may be able to provide you with tons of advantages. Unfortunately, at the cost of your security. To make your supply chain more secure, you can limit the information that you are putting out there. Moreover, data encryption is another way to prevent a data breach. Always ask yourself questions to ensure that important security checks are being fulfilled. 


3. Take action where needed

There are certain points along the supply chain where you must put the required safety checks. There will be places where your supply chain is failing, this is where you need to place your safeguards. There are certain companies that help to monitor suspicious activities taking place within your network. Look for solutions that work best for your business. 


Final Thoughts

Combatting the supply chain vulnerabilities will require the collaboration of your entire team. You won’t be able to get through it unless you don’t have everyone on board. Using the ways above can help you sort your entire chain in a better way. 

 


Arslan Hassan is an electrical engineer with a passion for writing, designing and anything tech-related. His educational background in the technical field has given him the edge to write on many topics. He occasionally writes blog articles for Dynamologic Solutions.

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