Stanley Soh, Regional QA Manager - Asia Pacific, shares how organizations and logistics providers can assess and address risk.
In general, when they talk about risk management, one of the main driving points behind that is that regulators, even our customers, recognize that with the supply chain as it is, it is pretty complex, and there's no way one organization can have total control over the whole chain. So, what's more important is that you must have a framework to actually identify within your supply chain which areas are deemed critical, and in those areas which are deemed critical, what are the risk that are inherent in those areas, and at the same time once you identify those risks, then as an organization you have to make a decision how to address those risks. Are you going to do something about those risks by putting in place control measures? Or, if you think those are acceptable risks, you move on from there.
Basically, what they would like an organization to do in this case, like even at World Courier that we recognize where are some of the critical areas that we need to get involved in. What are some of the risks, and what sort of measures did we put in place? When they are looking for examples of measures, they are basically looking in terms of development of operating procedures or control measures to reduce those risks that have been identified.
So basically, when it comes to risk management, I think what is really important is for any organization to really sit down with their vendors or their partners to really go through and assess where are the areas that are deemed to be weaknesses, and what we can do to manage those weaknesses, and it has to be a collaborative effort. At the same time, basically, in a sense for us at World Courier, I would like to use the word or the phrase "invite scrutiny" onto the practice, because once you scrutinize the practices, you will receive a level of confidence if you feel that the organization is doing things correctly, and then that becomes easier and gives you as an organization a peace of mind to know that you have a partner or a vendor that is able to develop in line with expectations, as well as meet all the compliance requirements.
It involved a Marine researcher that is based in Spain, and that was the first time he actually wanted to ship some marine samples off an island. Off Indonesia that's about three hours away from the nearest main island, and we had actually no presence, so we had to work through an agent, and we had to supply over a hundred boxes of dry ice to be flown in from Singapore to prepare in the nearest island, then to ship it down to this coast to pick up the samples. I think a few hundred were marine samples, and some of these were rare samples, and then we have to go through all the different customs requirements within Asia before shipping it back into Spain. That first time we did it was a logistical challenge, because we really didn't have the presence. The agent we were working with was very small, and he wasn't very familiar with our climate as well, so we had to give a lot of instructions, and at the same time we had to send people down to actually assist the agent as well. So, that was something that stood out because a lot of the logistical work we really do before that, but once we picked up, it became a little bit easier, because the ground work was already laid.