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  • Writer's pictureErika Andresen

I'll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

Supply chain management is receiving a lot of push now. It’s never not been a thing in the realm of business continuity, but more people are paying attention because the steps to manage the supply chain – in perfection – included asking if the supplier has a business continuity plan (BCP) instead of assuming they’d always be there at the ready.

But is asking enough?


The push includes verification of the BCP and what should be included: just seeing the plan? Evidence of it being tested? Do you know if it is a good one? Do they have ISO certification? Do they have it because they were merely ticking the box to say they have it?

I know better, as a continuity professional and (recovering but still trained and experienced) lawyer, than to trust what is being told, assume things are as they are, and not thoroughly check out things before entering into agreements.  

What is a great current events example of this? Boeing. 

It is now general knowledge (thanks to exposure from the recent troubles) that Boeing went from valuing safety to valuing profit more -- the amount spent on stock buy-backs versus R&D is gagging.  They farmed out some of their work to other providers. Who also farmed out work to other providers. Instead of building the planes entirely in-house, pieces were coming in to assemble. That is where the quality control comes into play. The further away from your own house that you go, the less control you have over the product you deliver. 

Third parties do not have to answer to your customers - you do. 

So United and Alaska Airlines use Boeing planes. They trusted that their supplier was giving them a safe and proper product. After the FAA grounded the Max 9s, they are finding scary things: loose bolts where caps were installed, no bolts in other parts of the plane. All work done by a third party...who farmed out work to another party. 

What is in your supply chain? 

What protections do you have to make sure your bottom line and business reputation are not impacted when your main supplier causes a disruption in your business? 

Do you ask them to show you their BCP (making the assumption they have one)? 

When you see it, do you know what you're looking at (can you spot a bad "plan" like I can)?

Don't trust. Definitely verify. And ask questions about the layers. Show them yours as well so they know you take BCP seriously.

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