19 May - Is your supply chain your weakest link?

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Survive - the business continuity group - has announced a new seminar to be held in May this year on supply chain continuity. The seminar, which will feature speakers from John Lewis, Next Group, and Nike, and which will be chaired by Dr Helen Peck of Cranfield University, will be the first held by Survive dedicated to the risk that supply chains represent to all organisations.

Lorraine Lane, CEO of Survive says, "Global business uncertainty and the drive for governance have pushed supply chain continuity ahead as an increasingly important management discipline. Instinctively, we all know that amongst our suppliers there will be a core that represents a risk to our organisation. This seminar will look at how we can identify and manage those suppliers."

Directly or indirectly, all businesses already rely to a great extent on third party providers for almost everything; and research has shown that the trend and external dependency is still growing. Outsourcing, single sourcing, service-centred operations and cost-down provision each accelerate supply chain risks and weaknesses, transferring non-core activities outside the organisation and into the hands of specialists who are supposedly better equipped.

"With the outsourcing of operations, businesses also outsource the risk - or so they would have you believe! The truth is we inherit our suppliers exposure to risk. What hurts them potentially hurts us, especially if the services they provide are critical to our success and we have no readily available alternative," says Lorraine.

"So when you outsource your unique manufacturing capability to China, specialised call centre operations to India, or technology requirements to a reliable IT provider, you do it with the knowledge that if they fail, there is a chance that you will fail too."

The seminar will look at how we can manage possibly unfamiliar and often late-recognised sources of risk, and what should be done when a new supplier or agent is appointed.

Seminar topics will include:

Improving supply chain resilience
Top flight retailers can supply chain failures really hurt?
Are UK retailers taking up the business continuity management challenge?
Building effective contingency contracts and operational solutions
Balancing risk and opportunity
Business Continuity contract issues which underlie the supply chain
Ethical and reputational risk and responsibilities
Regulatory expectations and requirements
Transport infrastructure and logistics

The seminar will be held in central London on the 19 May 2005. For further details visit www.survive.com/events

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