Apparel Logistics Flexibility Needed for Supply Chain Disruptions

Global-Supply-Chain.jpgIf you spent your 4th of July doing, well, anything more fun than sitting around watching the news (we hope you did), you might not have heard about the extraordinary lengths Washingtonians went to ensure the best, most darkest environment for an epic fireworks show possible:

According to the Associated Press:

Millions across the mid-Atlantic region sweltered Saturday in the aftermath of violent storms that pummeled the eastern United States with high winds and downed trees, killing at least 13 people and leaving 3 million without power during a triple-digit heat wave.

Utility officials predicted the blackouts wouldn't be repaired for several days, likening the damage to a serious hurricane. Emergencies were declared in Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, the District of Columbia and Virginia, where Gov. Bob McDonnell said the state had its largest non-hurricane blackout in history.

In some Virginia suburbs of Washington, emergency call centers were out of service; residents were told to call police and fire departments directly rather than 911. Huge trees fell across streets in Washington, smashing cars. Cell phone and Internet service was spotty, gas stations shut down and residents were urged to conserve water until sewage plants returned to power.

Sounds festive.

Holiday disruptions aside, major power problems like these have massive ripple effects throughout their communities — including, it goes without saying, businesses. And it shows just how vulnerable supply chains can be to disruptions beyond their control — even right here in America, the richest, most technologically advanced country in the world.

We talk often here on the apparel logistics blog about how apparel companies with supply chains snaking their way through multiple countries to the most distant corners of the globe need to prepare for supply chain disruptions.

Pick your poison: Natural disasters. Civil unrest or violence. Labor disruptions. Government corruption and shenanigans. Organized crime-perpetrated large-scale theft. It can be impossible to stop any of these from happening, and the farther your supply chain stretches, the more likely it is that you'll be faced with a disruption that severely drags down your speed to market and undermines your profits.

In other words, even minor disruptions can wipe out the savings you'd glean from outsourcing parts of your supply chain abroad in the first place. But the Washington blackout reminds us that even fully domestic supply chains here in the Land of the Free aren't immune to disruptions either.

Your only choice is to expect the unexpected and be ready when a disruption happens. This requires flexibility, responsiveness, and thorough contingency planning. Wherever in the world you are, expert apparel supply chain management and fashion logistics are key.

Here at The Apparel Logistics Group, both our logistics supply chain management experts and our disaster-resistance facilities (such as our clothing warehousing and garment processing facilities) can help.

Posted: 7/19/2012 4:54:43 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

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