Key Role of Supply Chain in Disaster Recovery Stressed

WHEAT RIDGE, CO – “Grid and critical infrastructure failure are what keep me up at night, because it is estimated that it would take the U.S. less than a week to fall into anarchy from such a disaster,” concluded Chloe Demrovsky, executive director of the Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRI) in her keynote speech at the Professional Electrical Apparatus Reconditioning League’s (PEARL) 20th Anniversary Conference, held in Newport Beach, Ca., April 5-9.

Citing that power outages alone cost the U.S. some $96 billion each year, Ms. Demrovsky stressed the importance of preparedness for and recovery from disasters in her speech: “Resilience is a Competitive Advantage: How to be a Reliable Supplier.”  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines resilience as the ability to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and to withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions, such as attacks, accidents, or naturally occurring threats or incidents.

“With the theme of our conference this year being ‘Disaster Recovery,’ we were particularly interested in hearing Ms. Demrovsky’s insights into the key role that the supply chain plays in this essential recovery process,” noted outgoing PEARL President Doug Powell. “PEARL supports and maintains the integrity of electrical systems by developing certified training programs, being included in the National Electrical Code and creating a reconditioning standard. This is what PEARL is all about and is how we as an industry strive to be the best-prepared supplier during emergencies and disasters.”

Ms. Demrovsky cited six emerging supply chain risks: cyberattacks, communications failures, political/social unrest, pandemic, critical equipment failure, and aging infrastructure. From here, she stressed that the focus needs to be on the impacts, not on the causes of the impacts. She identified four impacts that a disaster can create: Facilities issues, such as a flood or fire; Business or operations issues, such as a transit strike or supply chain missteps; Technology, which refers to IT issues; Organizational issues, such as mergers and acquisitions.

Summing up the essential need for planning, Ms. Demrovsky shared a seminal case study: In 2000, a minor fire in a plant that provided the majority of microchips to Nokia and Eriksson resulted in a total destruction of the microchips, due to their sensitivity to smoke damage. Nokia had a plan in place to stay in business if such a disaster occurred with a key supplier; Eriksson did not. As a consequence, Nokia went on to succeed in business. An additional outcome of this case study was the realization that businesses need to add resiliency clauses to their business contracts.

“PEARL provides an alternative for the industry by offering safe, reconditioned equipment that can be used to quickly and effectively recover from a disaster, be it equipment failure, electrical outages, or natural disasters,” said Mr. Powell. “The organization is proud of the integral role it plays in disaster recovery and unites suppliers in order to help ensure that trusted equipment can be delivered to a facility in need as quickly as possible.”

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