AMR Research identified several areas where companies could better prepare to lessen the effects of a pandemic. The following are brief descriptions of those strategies, as well as the percent of companies that have prepared for each strategy:
- Supply risk planning (22 percent): How prepared are companies to re-source supplies and goods from other areas?
Understanding and optimizing the nodes in the supply chain in case large geographies are more affected than others is vital.
- Home bound (38 percent): Companies must have the technology in place to support customers and employees that need to work from the safety of their own home.
- Self-service (29 percent): Allowing employees and customers to transact business remotely and to create workflow will limit exposure.
- Training (22 percent): Workers should be trained in multiple jobs, similar to the military, so that there are options should a colleague become disabled. Such cross-training not only helps in case of pandemic, but it also helps stem the ongoing brain-drain problem so many companies face as skilled workers retire or leave for other jobs.
- Risk management (43 percent): Evaluating scenarios for corporate-wide financial risk for the present, the near term, and the future.
"Large businesses play a key role in delivering critical supplies and services in a global economy. Evaluating their ability to do so is vital to their operations," says Tony Friscia, president and CEO of AMR Research. "Ignoring the possibility of a pandemic or another low-probability, high-impact event is not a strategy—building a risk management framework is."
The report highlights the need for a supply chain risk management strategy notwithstanding a pandemic. In recent history, businesses have experienced significant event risks, such as port strikes, natural disasters, terrorism and outbreaks such as SARS, in addition to increasingly constrained logistics, longer supply lead times and more variable demand and supply. AMR Research found that companies with an operational risk management strategy have seen lower business impact than competitors.