Mitigating Risk in the Supply Chain - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Mitigating Risk in the Supply Chain
The author describes the importance of risk management and offers strategies for risk-management preparedness in supply chains.

Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 34, pp. s22-s28

Elements to assess supply disruption

A simple diagnostic test can assess whether a company is adequately prepared for supply-chain disruptions or mitigating reputational risk. Key questions to consider are:

  • Does a company have a comprehensive supply-chain risk-management program in place?
  • Does the supply-chain risk-management program have well-documented policies and procedures in place that adequately protect the company against the types of issues that are generating enormous news today (e.g., supply-chain disruptions such as geopolitical instability, natural disasters, financial collapse, inconsistent quality, contamination, and counterfeiting; corporate responsibility such as human rights violations and environmental concerns; and employee responsibility such as fraudulent activities, discrimination, and harassment)?
  • Are employees trained and certified in their understanding of these policies on an annual basis?
  • Is there a systematic process and data-management repository in place to ensure rapid and proactive response to unexpected events?
  • Are corporate responsibility and supply-chain risk-management a top priority among the company's senior executives?

The answers to these questions provide insight into whether a company is adequately prepared to mitigate risk in its supply-chain activities.

Gregg Brandyberry is a partner of Wildfire Commerce, senior advisor of AT Kearney procurement and analytic solutions, and former vice-president of procurement, global systems, and operations for GlaxoSmithKline, 629 Overhill Road, Ardmore, PA 19003, tel. 215.327.5739,


1. D. Gilmore, Supply Chain Digest, May 7, 2009.

2. FDA, Information on Heparin (Rockville, MD),, accessed June 30, 2010.

3. "The 2010 Global 100 List," Corporate Knights,, accessed July 15, 2010.


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