Tag Archives: supply chain

Where are the Likely Holes in Your Disaster Recovery Planning?

DRI ANZ

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No disaster recovery plan is perfect. However, there is a big difference between knowing about and managing limitations; and being caught wrong-footed by a problem you never thought about. Some items seem to consistently make the ‘hit parade’ of omissions and absences in DR plans. Before spilling the beans, here’s a hint to help you guess what they might be. They each involve a lack of vision beyond the limited point of view of IT servers and applications in a data centre.

  • Getting the workforce back to work. Disaster recovery applies to IT systems in particular. But people need to know they can get back to work again after an IT outage has been resolved. Workers don’t always automatically resume operations. So make sure your disaster recovery also triggers productivity recovery by telling people it’s time to start work again.
  • Recovery for remote locations. The corporate IT centre may be vital to survival, but that’s no reason to forget about branch offices or distant sites. Your organisation may have a policy that separate business entities should look after their own resources. Make sure this does not lead to blinkered thinking or silo management. As a minimum, check that a workable solution has been defined and prepared for all parts of the business.
  • Supply chain end-to-end operations. High performance supply chain operations are finely balanced with many moving parts. If one part such as a particular software application fails, it can throw other parts out of kilter too. Damage may extend beyond a local IT outage and need thorough checking and subsequent ‘knock-on’ problem resolution in other parts of the supply chain.

To guard against such shortcomings, remember to start your planning process by clearly understanding the business objectives for your organisation. Check that your disaster recovery plan covers all entities making critical contributions to reaching those objectives and all inter-dependencies between those entities. If you find gaps, revise your plan until you have filled them.

Supply Chain Business Continuity and the Weakest Links

DRI ANZ

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The supply chain is one of the few possibilities left for a company to be truly competitive. Technology can be copied rapidly and Internet has leveled the playing field for advertising and marketing. However, getting customer satisfaction and loyalty right through supply chain optimisation still offers considerable possibility for differentiation. That opportunity also comes with significant business continuity challenges. Supply chains are complex assemblies of many moving parts that require skill and good judgment to extract the best performance. In many cases, it also only takes one part to break for the whole chain to stop. How can better business continuity and resilience be achieved?

A first step to improved business continuity is better supply chain visibility. But organisations need to know more than just what is going on in their own supply chain operations such as warehousing, production, sales and logistics. They also need to know about the resilience of their upstream suppliers and their downstream service providers. If you can’t get the raw materials you need or if you can’t get your finished goods delivered to points of sale, your business will still suffer. It’s important to understand that your weakest link may be completely outside your own organisation.

As supply chain thinking continues to evolve, so do opportunities for improving business continuity. One idea is to increase the modularity of the supply chain and the possibility to use ‘commodity’ resources that can be swapped in and out according to requirements. That won’t stop breakages or interruptions, but can shorten them and make it easier for an enterprise to cover all the bases. Another possibility is to replicate supply chains to have one per business unit, rather than just one for the whole company. With proper overall resilience built-in, an outage in one supply chain should not affect the operation of the others, and the enterprise as a whole becomes more robust.

Disaster Recovery Planning – How Much Do IT Vendors Really Understand?

DRI ANZ

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There is no shortage of hardware and software products to help enterprises with their IT, but when it comes to disaster recovery planning, vendors may not be the best placed to advise. The most effective DR also means having the right people taking the right actions at the right time, something that transcends the possibilities of machines and automation. Both dimensions, human and machine, need to be taken into account. Conversely, vendor promises that their solution is ‘all you need for DR’ should be taken with a good pinch of salt.

Good disaster recovery planning includes provision for team training. The aims are multiple: avoid disasters where possible; checking that IT routines and solutions remain relevant and operational; and adjust recovery tactics in real time as required in disaster situations. Like information security, in DR advanced people capability and basic technology is often preferable to advanced technology but only basic people capability. People know what the specific objectives are for their organisation and can adapt and apply different solutions accordingly. Vendor disaster recovery offerings offer the potential to help, but are not by themselves a magic bullet that removes the need for the customer organisation to think for itself.

Smart vendors know that their commercial impact will be greater if they can demonstrate to a customer that they understand the specific challenges to be addressed. Working with a vendor that’s on the ball and that relates to your own particular requirements can facilitate the disaster recovery planning process. Delegation of responsibility can however only be done to people who can prove they have your firm’s best interests at heart. Typically, that either means a dedicated team of consultants or your own internal DR task force. So encourage vendors to better comprehend your specific needs. Keep in mind nonetheless that they may not always have had the same benefit of DR training or practical DR experience that you have had.