The emergence of the Omicron variant has demonstrated the looping nature of this pandemic, according to a new publication by Airmic in partnership with Control Risks, The pandemic goes endemic: Learning the lessons, boosting preparedness, building resilience.
According to Airmic, there will be ever newer variants of Covid-19, or even new pandemics, as human populations encroach further on other animal habitats. All this accentuates the need for risk professionals to look beyond the present Covid-19 crisis.
As such, it added, risk professionals and their organisations need to learn the lessons, boost preparedness and build resilience.
A crucial area examined was that of supply chain risk. According to the report, global supply chain volatility has been one of the challenges that has defined the second half of 2021. As an outcome of Brexit and the pandemic, the UK has faced a range of supply chain issues from fuel shortages to shortages of raw materials for construction.
It added that consumer demand, driven by growth in e-commerce, is fuelling investment in supply chain assets in new, riskier locations. Pressure to decrease costs while accelerating output and delivery times is forcing businesses to work with an expanding network of less mature suppliers which can lack proper governance, risk and compliance procedures.
Technology continues to integrate with the physical world to create a cyber-physical system forming a business ecosystem with an ever-diverse group of suppliers linked by a complex web of interdependencies, the report noted, adding that as supply chains manage a larger volume of goods, any major disruption left unmitigated could escalate into an existential organisational threat with far-reaching strategic, reputational and financial implications.
The report noted: “An uncertain geopolitical environment in tandem with the growth of activism is redefining corporate purpose. Increasingly, corporations are expected to live and breathe the values of multiple stakeholders within their supply chains. As business has become a more influential political, social and geopolitical actor, supply chains have been identified as high- impact, low-risk targets by criminals, fraudsters, terrorists, activists and state-sponsored warfare.”
Looking forward, the report suggested that risk professionals have the expertise and insight to enable better supply chain resilience. Working with procurement teams to understand the supply chain risks to critical assets and to undertake regular reviews of supply chain risks, both internally and of key suppliers, should be a continued focus.