The World is Going Mad – Happy Christmas (and Manage Your Supply Chain Risk)

Well, I thought we might be winding down to a nice quiet Christmas break by now, but it appears instead that the world is basically going mad.

“What do you think is going to happen with Brexit?”, I’ve been asked with increasing regularity, to which the answer is “I have no bloomin’ clue”. Except I may not use the word “bloomin’”.  It is such a mess. If we assume that the three core options are the May deal, a hard Brexit (no deal) and remain, I am not sure there is a 50% majority in the country for any of those.  So, would even another referendum solve the problem?  And the rancour and divisions in the country seem set to continue for years, whatever the immediate decisions in coming weeks.

Then we have the arrest in Canada of Meng Wanzhou, the global chief financial officer of the vast Huawei telecoms corporation, with extradition to the US on charges of sanctions busting a possibility. This is hugely damaging for trade and diplomatic relations between the world’s two biggest powers, as whether or not Huawei is a tool of the Chinese government or not, it is certainly a favoured firm and the CFO is the daughter of the founder. New Zealand and Australia, two close defence allies of the UK, have blocked the purchase of Huawei 5G equipment based on security concerns, and we suspect there is some fevered analysis going on in Whitehall to decide whether the UK should do the same.

Meanwhile, the French have decided to smash up their own country in a more physical manner than we’re doing to ours, as a bunch of anarchists, extreme left and extreme right-wing hooligans, along with more genuine citizens upset at President Macron’s policies, take to the streets. The French do civil disobedience particularly well, don’t they?

This has all pushed the issues between Russia and Ukraine out of the headlines in the past few days, but that tension hasn’t gone away either. And probably of more importance to many of us in the immediate sense, a major mobile network problem traced back to Ericcson equipment (or the software powering the equipment – an “expired software certificate” – really?) caused millions to lose network data services last week. That affected consumers, businesses and even public sector bodies who all rely on “data” for what we now consider to be everyday requirements.

All we can do here is repeat what we’ve said pretty constantly for the past few years – if you’re not prioritising supply chain risk management, then perhaps you should start now. For instance, we heard at the HCSA conference two weeks ago just how seriously the UK health service is taking the “no deal” Brexit option; it’s perhaps a bit late now, but businesses need to do the same.

Anyway, we can’t solve supply chain risk management issues by talking about them, but if you want to get some ideas on implementing risk programmes, do tune in on Thursday December 13th at 2pm (UK time) for our webinar with riskmethods, titled “Understand the Risk Big Picture”.   I hope you can join Bill deMartino from the firm and me for the session, and we’ll have a Q&A as part of it. We look forward to your questions - just don’t ask me “what do you think is going to happen with Brexit”?!


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