The 10 major threats to global supply chains

Dennis Adonis

Transport & Logistics providers operate in a highly volatile environment, characterised by ongoing threats to passengers, personnel and assets, including vehicle crashes, hazardous goods storage & transport, cargo & asset theft, terrorism and piracy.

Increasingly interconnected global supply chains make cyber-attacks, digital failure and geopolitical dynamics an ever present set of risks to business integrity. Future competitiveness relies on deep integration between all parts of the manufacturing, logistics and distribution sectors, with highly automated processes requiring massive levels of data being exchanged, leading to a concordant increase in vulnerability to privacy and security breaches.

Further, reliance on partners and changing customer demands increase the potential for market & business model failure; and the high demand for new technological skills, especially digital leadership, and big data analytics, compound the challenges facing the sector.

In order to help quantify the scope of these risks, the Willis Towers Watson Risk Index – released in September 2016 – is a global survey of senior sector executives who identified the following areas as being of most concern:

  1. Increased security threat from cyber and data privacy breaches
  2. Failure of critical IT systems
  3. Dependence on third-party suppliers
  4. Third-party security vulnerability and digital supply chain resilience
  5. Competition/anti-trust law scrutiny associated with M&A activity
  6. Increased complexity of regulation
  7. Inability to keep up with pace of change and technological advancement
  8. Threat from new and emerging competitors
  9. Over-dependence on national infrastructure
  10. New technologies obsolescing existing transport infrastructure

As the levels of interconnectivity, and pace of technological change continues to escalate, resilience is increasingly being built through robust communication strategies, continuous innovation and thorough preparation to respond when crises do arise.

Read our Inside Guide to Transport & Logistics Crisis Communications to understand the scope of these risks, and the best practice strategies, tools and technologies for effective crisis preparation and response.