March 03, 2016

Supply Chain Risk Management & Supply Chain Resilience: Is There a Difference?

Wayne Caccamo

half_full_half_empty.pngI hear the terms supply change risk management (SCRM) and supply chain resilience used interchangeably by industry practitioners, stakeholders, solution providers, and industry analysts alike. So, are we essentially talking about the same thing or do we invoke one term over the other in certain circumstances to convey something different?

For all practical purposes, both terms describe the same business discipline and process and, as such, cover the same ground when you break down the concepts into its various components. However, the message that they each evoke is very different. They both describe the same “glass”, but one describes the glass as half-full (resilience) and the other half-empty (SCRM).

While risk is something you want to minimize, resilience is something you want to maximize. Risk is a threat, while resilience is an opportunity. For example, in terms of value propositions, the messages that flow easily from a discussion of SCRM are around cost and disruption avoidance, vulnerability identification and remediation, and other operational and tactical concerns. On the other hand, supply chain resiliency connects more easily with strategic themes like competitive advantage, market share, and ultimately brand and shareholder value.

For example, companies that recover faster from a supply chain disruption event through early detection and crisis response preparation, or avoid its impact altogether as a result of proactive planning, can gain a time-to-market and market share advantage over competitors that depend on the same suppliers and components to ship product. Studies have shown that the loss in market share and shareholder value from supply disruption events can take a decade to recover from, not to mention the brand/reputation impact of having to delay shipment.

Both the SCRM and resilience value propositions are real and compelling and relevant to the growth of SCRM/Resilience as a critical business discipline and function moving forward. One resonates with sourcing and supply chain operations professionals, while the other piques the interest of the C-suite. The discipline of SCRM/Resilience will reach escape velocity when the operations folks can drive the C-level messages up the chain and the C-suite can drive “buy in” from the top down with a viable operational improvement message.

So while the strategies and tactics to manage risk and achieve resilience may be the same (e.g. qualify additional/alternate sources for high revenue-at-risk components; improve supplier collaboration and planning; design products and supply networks for resiliency, etc.), the benefits may be perceived and valued differently. Let’s continue to use both terms because they both matter, but let’s also be aware of their nuances and evoke the term that is likely resonate most with whomever you are talking to.

Download the Ultimate Guide to Supply Chain Resiliency Program Success to learn tips on how to sell your SCRM/Resilience initiative to any audience.

Topics: supply chain resiliency, supply chain risk management, supply chain event monitoring