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Supply Chain Resilient 1 

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Expert Meeting:  Supply Chain Resilience

The Resilient America Roundtable hosted an expert meeting in Washington, DC on May 21, 2015 to explore issues related to supply chain resilience.

Supply chain management involves many partners, including manufacturing/producers/suppliers, intermediaries (distributors), third-party service providers (such as transportation and storage), as well as customers. Risk management and risk reduction strategies (which draw upon scientific, engineering, social, economic, and political expertise) are integral components of the decision-making process of supply chain management. In addition, critical infrastructure – such as road conditions, electric power, and telecommunications – play important roles, too.

The meeting’s attendees represented supply chain “principals” and “operators” with deep experience in food, water, medical goods, fuel, trucking, telecommunications, and electrical power. In addition, public sector participants represented emergency management, infrastructure protection, civil and environmental engineering, homeland security, as well as councils of government.

The expert meeting’s participants examined:

  • Current and potential methods utilized by industries (and other sectors) that assist in mitigating various, identified vulnerabilities that can impede supply chain resilience.
  • Enhanced recovery of supply chains following a major disaster, and to better understand how supply chains are dependent on each other and on critical infrastructure.
  • Functional and strategically meaningful private-public collaborations focused on supply chain resilience.

Mapping modeling tools enable operational experts to evaluate different types of variables that may impact normal business or organization activities. The meeting’s participants agreed that the process of mapping is an important step in supply chain analysis – since the mapping strategies and relationships formed during a coalition’s planning process are fundamental to the supply chain’s revised tactics being well-founded, well-understood, and ready to be executed in a timely manner.

The meeting’s outcomes included interest by the private sector to work with each other and with federal agencies to increase understanding of interdependencies within their supply chains, roles of the federal government, and means to share information during times of disruption.

Supply Chain Resilient 2

Figure 1: The map identifies the location of several Los Angeles area grocery distribution centers that are west of the San Andreas fault line. The mapping was undertaken by personnel of the Los Angeles Emergency Management Department to better understand supply chain capacity that will be crucial to feeding millions of survivors in the aftermath of a major earthquake. The results of the mapping activity will be used to inform improved private-public collaboration in case of a catastrophic event. Source: Los Angeles Emergency Management Department and Philip Palin.

This workshop is under the auspices of the Resilient America Roundtable.  Part of the Roundtable's overall goals is to convene experts from the academic, public, and private sectors to discuss and catalyze activities that build resilience to extreme events at the community, regional, national, and international levels. 
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