Focused on supplier risk issues for business leaders

Federal Agencies at Risk From Dependence on Global IT Supply Chain

March 28, 2012 | No Comments →

In order to carry out their operations, federal agencies often rely on IT components manufactured overseas. But, a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) warns that this growing dependence on a global IT supply chain introduces multiple risks to sensitive federal information systems.

For example, the report says federal agencies are vulnerable to:

  • Installation of malicious logic on hardware or software
  • Installation of counterfeit hardware or software
  • Failure or disruption in the production or distribution of a critical product or service
  • Reliance upon a malicious or unqualified service-provider for the performance of technical services
  • Installation of unintentional vulnerabilities on hardware or software (more…)

Radioactive Scrap Metal is New Threat to Global Supply Chains

March 26, 2012 | Comments (2)

World leaders are meeting in Seoul this week to discuss nuclear security concerns, including the growing threat of radioactive material in the global scrap metal supply chain.

According to a recent article at Bloomberg Businessweek, industries around the world are confronting the impact of loose nuclear (i.e., radioactive) material in an international scrap-metal market worth at least $140 billion. From the article:

Radioactive items used to power medical, military and industrial hardware are melted down and used in goods, driving up company costs as they withdraw tainted products and threatening the public’s health . . . Abandoned medical scanners, food-processing devices and mining equipment containing radioactive metals such as cesium-137 and cobalt-60 are picked up by scrap collectors, sold to recyclers and melted down by foundries, the IAEA (United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency) says.

The problem made headlines earlier this year when retailer Bed Bath & Beyond had to recall a metal tissue holder from its shelves after the item was found to be slightly radioactive.  A Bed Bath & Beyond truck loaded with the tissue holders reportedly set off a surveillance monitor in California. (more…)

Market Volatility Leads to Focus on Supply Chain Improvements

March 21, 2012 | No Comments →

Business executives around the world continue to worry about market volatility and economic uncertainty, however most feel their companies are better prepared to handle these challenges than they were during the economic slowdown of 2008-09, according to new research from Capgemini Consulting.

The study, which surveyed 350 supply chain executives from leading companies across Europe, the US, Latin America and Asia-Pacific, found that:

  • Familiar business challenges persist. Market volatility (52 percent) and the economic downturn (39 percent) are the biggest business challenges currently faced by respondents. Just 17 percent feel optimistic about the outlook for the economy in 2012.
  • Leaders are focused on supply chains. Two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents said they have implemented measures to improve visibility and control within the supply chain, and 59 percent have taken steps to increase flexibility within supply chain operations. As Capgemini points out, companies that have taken these measures should expect to have a head start on their competitors in 2012 as they will be able to measure and adapt their supply chains more easily. (more…)

CDC: Foodborne Disease Outbreaks Increasingly Linked to Imports

March 19, 2012 | No Comments →

Last week at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presented new research that reveals two emerging –and disturbing –trends:

  • Foodborne disease outbreaks caused by imported food appeared to rise in 2009 and 2010, and
  • Nearly half of the outbreaks implicated foods imported from areas which had not been associated with outbreaks previously.

An earlier report from the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) found that US food imports grew from $41 billion in 1998 to $78 billion in 2007, and that much of that growth occurred in fruit and vegetables, seafood and processed food products.

All told, researchers now estimate that about 16 percent of all the food Americans eat is imported, including up to 85 percent of the seafood and depending on the time of year, as much as 60 percent of fresh produce.

The CDC’s recent study reviewed outbreaks reported to its Foodborne Disease Outbreak Surveillance System from 2005-2010 for implicated foods that were imported into the US. During that five-year period, 39 outbreaks and 2,348 illnesses were linked to imported food from 15 countries. Of those outbreaks: (more…)

44 Percent of Global Oil Production Takes Place in Countries with High Risk of Resource Nationalism

March 07, 2012 | No Comments →

Mounting tensions with Iran have many keeping a watchful eye on global energy prices. However, Iran is not the only potential trouble-spot.

The results of Maplecroft’s Resource Nationalism Index show that a full 44 percent of global oil production currently occurs in countries that pose a ‘high’ or ‘extreme risk’ of resource nationalism. In fact, the list includes eight of the twelve members of OPEC .

As Maplecroft defines it, resource nationalism is a rising phenomenon where governments of countries hosting large reserves of natural resources try to secure greater economic benefit from their exploitation or leverage political gain through restricting supplies. This not only has operational and financial implications for extractive companies operating in these countries, but it could create further instability for the global energy markets.

The Resource Nationalism Index identifies the risk of resource nationalism across 197 countries.

Maplecroft included nine countries in the “extreme” risk category: (more…)