The Resilience Operations Center: Understanding Risk and Identifying Assets

June 4, 2021

The following is an excerpt from “The Resilience Operations Center: A New Framework for Supply Chain Risk Management.” Download the ebook or request a print copy here.

An organization’s ability to create operational resilience depends on agile and informed teams, intelligent use of data, and fast adaptation to changing circumstances. The Resilience Operations Center (ROC) framework—which updates supply chain risk management (SCRM) and third-party risk management (TPRM) approaches—helps deliver on those requirements. Whether you build a virtual or organizational ROC, it will be the foundation you rely on when facing adversity and will empower your organization to deliver for all stakeholders, no matter what challenges arise.

Laying the ROC Groundwork

Risks are everywhere in today’s landscape. The ability to identify ongoing and emerging threats and vulnerabilities and proactively adapt and respond to them through resilient behaviors can help your business thrive. Nowhere is this more important than in your approach to managing operational risks arising from supplier outsourcing decisions.

Organizations need to focus on the operational resilience that is derived from building a joint business-supply chain ecosystem. The concept of a supply chain ecosystem is at the center of effective management of supplier risk in our complex, constantly evolving world. Resilience is the ability to mitigate the consequences of unplanned events, manage adversity, and navigate manmade as well as natural disasters. Resilience demands forecasting and planning for different scenarios while continuously evaluating key organizational risk factors. Connectedness—a willingness to understand your suppliers’ interests, build trust, and act together with them for the strategic good of all—contributes to resilience.

Aligning SCRM/TPRM with Strategic Priorities

Aligning your SCRM or TPRM program with strategic business objectives can help you achieve supply chain operational resilience. As a risk management practitioner, you must understand which assets are critical to your business. To begin identifying them, ask the following questions:

  • What are your industry’s critical assets?
  • How are they used?
  • How are they derived, manufactured, and transported?
  • Where are information assets stored, sent, and shared?
  • Who has access to your assets at each step throughout the supply chain process?

Critical assets vary across industries, and could include the following:

  • Financial services: Banking customer Personally Identifiable Information, including name, address, and account number
  • Healthcare: Patient Protected Health Information, including name, date of birth, and Social Security number
  • Retail: Customer payment card industry data, including card number, expiration date, and Card Verification Value
  • Pharmaceuticals: Proprietary drug formulations
  • Manufacturing: Process patents and other proprietary information

This knowledge, combined with risk appetite (the amount of risk a business is willing to assume to achieve its strategic goals), allows you to implement effective, efficient, and resilient business operational strategies. This provides the ability to prevent disruptions in service or product delivery. It also enables organizations to minimize the impact of and recover quickly from unforeseen events, including unlikely black swan events.

Identifying Key Business Operational Risks

Which operational risks are greatest for your organization? Not all risks are created equal, and they vary by industry. Once you have identified the risks, you need to understand how the organization is monitoring and responding to them.

  • Financial: Trending, growth, solvency, soundness
  • Operations: Bankruptcy resiliency, counterfeiting, business cost trends
  • Governance: Compliance practices, including U.S. and international regulations, country-specific risks, management turnover
  • Geographic: Pandemic impact, corruption and political violence concerns, infrastructure stats
  • Cyber: Data breaches and emerging cyber risks

To achieve resilient operations, you need to expand your horizons to include the operating environments within your extended supply chains, including all tiers and their risk factors. This process should be ongoing so you can spot and address current and emerging risks before they affect the business.

Beyond the obvious cybersecurity and disaster recovery/business continuity risks affecting the supply chain, you should consider geographic and concentration risks, financial disruptions, operations process risks, geopolitical instability, regulatory changes, and gaps in SCRM programs. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks also need to be addressed. This requires working with suppliers to proactively communicate and exchange information to create a strategic advantage and safe operating environments for all participants. The end goal is being able to respond quickly to protect the business and its customers.

More Disruptions are Coming—Get the ROC Book

The Resilience Operations Center book goes into more detail on these and other topics, including identifying stakeholders, telling your SCRM story, and creating business value through supply chain relationships. Get a copy of the book here and put your supply chain and your organization on the road to operational resilience.

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Ensure Operational Resilience

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Build operational resiliency into your extended supply chain:

  • 889 compliance – ensure market access
  • Data sharing with 3rd parties and beyond – protect reputation
  • Concentration risk – ensure business continuity
  • Cyber breaches – assess potential exposure
  • Unethical labor – avoid reputational harm
  • On-boarding and monitoring suppliers – save time and money