Within 48 hours after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal in April 2015, the country’s main airport was flooded with humanitarian aid supplies and rescue and relief teams coming in from all around the world. However, about a week or so later, large aircrafts were unable to land at the airport as the runway was damaged from the influx of flights delivering aid.
Airports play a critical role in channeling humanitarian teams and relief goods quickly after a disaster strikes. Besides having the necessary infrastructure, to smoothly deliver the lifesaving support to the affected communities, the team on site needs to be trained in the necessary protocols and know-how to handle the dramatic rise in air traffic and flow of goods and people following a natural disaster. The 2015 earthquakes have shown that adequate level of infrastructure and effective logistical operations would not only save lives but help reduce economic loss.
Disaster logistics, or humanitarian supply chain management, has attracted research attention in recent years.
Float Your Boat
Map your supply chain to improve visibility and mitigate risks
Companies need to rethink supply chain risk management, and it begins by mapping their supply chains. The sad reality is that most companies have blind spots in their supply chains.
Only few companies invest the time, money, and resources to map their supply chains in sufficient detail and keep the information updated.
Do you track the history and frequency of disruptions that occur at each facility and geographic region, due to either natural forces (hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, etc.) or other factors (labor strikes, power outages, quality issues, etc.)?
If your answer is “no” to most of these questions, then it’s only a question of time before you get blindsided by a supply chain issue or disruption. Start mapping your supply chain today, or be prepared to pay a big price down the road.
At Point Blank Range
In 2015, Jayem Warehousing, Ahmedabad was struck by floods almost after 50 years of time span. Situated in a low-lying area, the water had reached the plinth of the warehouse, but it allowed the locals enough time to shift the warehouse to a safer location, ensuring the upgradation of safety standards. Similarly, our warehouses in the other cities followed suit.
Although, the contractor’s trucks were submerged and ran faulty, the shipments were slightly delayed; it didn’t have much impact on our SLA. We were soon up and running after that.
Since then, to deal with such uncertainties, accounting for any natural disaster, the main Health and Safety Equipment (HSE) Department keeps track of the safety equipment of warehouse labour, as well as the requisite fire safety drill.
For Jayem, Toyota’s coping mechanism for Japan’s earthquake debacle is a better case study to look upto. Various precautions can be defined well, considering the case study.
The twin earthquakes that struck southern Japan on April 14 and 16 had ripple effects far beyond the disaster zone, forcing Toyota to suspend production at most of its factories across the country, and affecting other manufacturers as well.
The stoppage likely cost Toyota hundreds of millions of dollars and perhaps around 100,000 units of lost production.
Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., said plants in Japan building Lexus and Prius models for the U.S. would resume production on Monday, April 25, 2016.
“It sounds to me like we are in good shape,” Carter said, adding that there is no known disruption to North American production.
The hit could have been worse had Toyota not rolled out several crisis containment measures since 2011.
“It’s a huge improvement,” Takaki Nakanishi, an auto analyst who runs his own research firm in Tokyo, said of the rebound.
“I think 3-11 helped everything,” Nakanishi said of the March 11, 2011, catastrophe that killed more than 15,000 people, shattered the supply network and interrupted global production.
“They have a new supply chain management system built in.”
Japanese automakers have strengthened offices and factories in Japan, adopted improved practices to track parts and implemented plans that will keep their businesses running in emergencies.
Toyota, for example, completed a survey of suppliers in 2013 to pinpoint weak links and now uses a database known as Rescue.
Rescue stores information about thousands of parts stored at 650,000 supplier sites, helping the automaker bypass bottlenecks when one supplier gets knocked out of commission.
Indeed, when the 6.5-magnitude quake struck on the night of April 14 near the city of Kumamoto on Japan’s southwestern island of Kyushu, Toyota knew right away of trouble.
For Jayem Logistics, selecting a warehouse away from the low-lying areas is a must. Unlike Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur warehouse-demarcated zones, one must look for a space that is not congested, wherein a fire van can freely maneuver and access, as required. Hence, the HSE defines the warehouse designs way before settling in for the deal.
The Disruption Claw
Finally, it’s important to note that natural disasters are not the only things that can disrupt supply chains. For instance, Tesla was reported saying that its “Q1 delivery count was impacted by severe Model X supplier parts shortages in January and February that lasted much longer than initially expected.”