Rethinking Supply Risk: The Taiwan Earthquakes

The historically quiet week between Christmas and New Years has turned out not to be so quiet from a supply risk perspective. And that's because the recent earthquake around Taiwan has proven to the world how vulnerable our voice and data network infrastructure is to disasters -- natural and otherwise. A long-time colleague and business partner of mine, Art Hutchinson, has penned two eloquent entries on the subject on his blog, which you can read here and here.

So what's the big deal you ask? Think about the basic assumptions you might have today and then think again.

It's easy to rebuild the physical plumbing of the Internet -- the fat pipes that connect China with the rest of the world, right? And isn't the Internet a fundamentally resilient network? Don't we have back-up satellites to bounce IP traffic off of? If things get really bad, can’t we share production schedules with our suppliers via fax and phone?

Well, not exactly. Because of the convergence of data and voice networks -- not to mention Western reliance on Asian-based call centers to field customer and internal queries -- any IP traffic disruption can set off a domino effect of cascading supply disruptions across industries. So check out Art's posts and decide for yourself if you’ve fully thought through the risk in your supply network from global IP and telecom related issues.

Jason Busch

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