Last week, when I was at Ariba's Supply Watch road show forum, I found John Starr's definition of supply risk somewhat limiting (which is a subject which I'll be posting on in the coming weeks). But this should not come as a surprise. For virtually no sourcing -- or even traditional supply chain consulting organizations -- really understand supply risk at the level which is necessary to give actionable client advice. When I was at AMR's supply chain vendor day earlier in the month, Mark Hillman and I had an interesting exchange over who to talk to about supply risk on the professional services side.
He suggested that independent firms with dedicated supply chain risk management practices like Protiviti can be a great place to start. "But don't ignore the Big 5," one of Mark's AMR colleagues called out. However, he was not referring to the sourcing or supply chain practices of the Big 5, but rather new risk management groups that came out of the auditing function with specific charters around supply risk, often serving the internal audit functions of companies.
So when you think about supply risk consulting, look beyond just Ariba, AT Kearney, McKinsey and the other usual strategic sourcing and supply chain strategy firms. Rather, expand your thinking on who best can serve your needs. And don't be afraid to call in an old auditor-type with a deep understanding of supply chain issues -- even if they don't have the same background as the other consultants you might have worked with on different sourcing and operations areas in the past.