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How to Overcome Nature's Impact over Global Supply Chains


  • The world has recently witnessed a regular succession of natural disasters which have caused immense devastation

  • Natural disasters not only claim lives, they also seriously disrupt supply chains, by resulting in the cancellation of flights, the closure of ports and the shutting down of highways

  • Supply chain disruptions cause huge economic costs to businesses, but companies can mitigate this risk by accessing real time data which informs them of supply chain disruptions well ahead of time, allowing them to take countermeasures

This past year witnessed an unusually large number of devastating natural disasters all across the world. From the multiple hurricanes which have battered South America and the United States, including Hurricane Michael most recently, to the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia which claimed over 2,000 lives. And these climatic catastrophes are unlikely to let up, with the latest data by the UN on climate change showing that unless governments and societies take drastic steps to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the impact and regularity of natural disasters will only worsen in the future.


Mother Nature’s Disruption to Supply Chains

The tragic consequences that natural disasters can cause to human life is readily apparent, and covered extensively by the news media. What’s less recognized is that natural disasters also wreak immense havoc on global supply chains, because they result in the cancellations of flights, the closure of ports, and the shutting down of highways. In this way, the delivery of raw materials, consumer goods and other components are delayed, sometimes substantially, which can seriously harm the bottom line of businesses.

For example, the catastrophic Tohoku earthquake and tsunami a few years ago resulted in a massive US$210 billion in costs for Japan. Unable to import or export needed parts, Toyota, GM and Nissan all closed down their facilities temporarily in Japan and the United States. In a similar fashion, when Puerto Rico was struck by Hurricane Maria earlier this year, the supply chain of two of the island’s most important industries, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, were ground to a complete halt.


How, then, can your business protect itself from the risks of such overwhelming supply chain disruptions? The key is to see them coming before the mainstream news media even start covering them.

Access to Real Time Data via Risk Chain

How much more effective would your planning be if you could get real time data to help you identify potential risks before they can cause havoc? Risk Chain, an exclusive feature of the Gravity platform, enables you to do just that.

Risk Chain monitors as many as 40,000 data sources in real time, including weather feeds, port closures, traffic congestion and so forth to immediately inform Gravity users of where a supply chain disruption may occur and how that could affect their business. This data is displayed in an easy to understand graphical interface. Consider how quickly you could react and adjust if you know in real time that a storm at sea may affect trade lanes. You could ask yourself whether you have an order on any ships in those lanes, the priority of that cargo and how you should adjust the shipping route. To put it simply, context matters. The faster you’re made aware of “breaking news,” the faster you can address and mitigate potential issues. You’re proactive, not reactive.

Contact us if you’d like to use Risk Chain for your business


In addition to extreme weather events, Risk Chain also provides data on a range of other potential supply chain disruptions, such as political protests, transport strikes, economic upheaval or infrastructure damage, allowing you to foresee and minimize the damage that any external event can cause to your supply chain. We like to say that with Risk Chain, we are able to tell you today what is going to happen tomorrow.

Data and Insights are the Key to Business Success

The more informed you are about what is going on regarding your business, the better you can make strategic data led decisions that can help your business grow. Risk Chain provides you with data about supply chain disruptions, but you shouldn’t limit your knowledge only to that. You should aim to achieve visibility and transparency into all elements of your supply chain, including the status of vendor bookings, purchase orders and the movement of inventory, using an automated system such as Gravity which updates data instantly rather than relying on manual updates which are slow, error prone and out of date.

Schedule a Gravity demo by filling in the form below to learn more about how Risk Chain and other features can help your business by giving you the data you need to stay ahead of the curve:

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