These are the 5 biggest supply chain risks in 2019

In an increasingly chaotic world, it's good to be prepared.

by Stephen Jones
Last Updated: 23 Apr 2019

If you could give a CEO three wishes, it would be safe to bet that one of them would be a control over the ever-changing global macroeconomic and geopolitical climate.

Sadly Management Today doesn’t have a magic business-jinni summoning lamp to rub, but we do have a report from the British Standards Institution (BSI), which has pulled data from its global supply chain intelligence platform to reveal the risk 'themes' most likely to impact global supply chains in 2019.

The full report is pretty detailed, but here are five significant challenges, developments and trends that all bosses should be aware of.  


An increase in global mass migration - driven by conflict, political climate and economic hardship - means businesses will need a more thorough understanding of supply chain risks including stowaways, widespread labour exploitation and a decline in the inspection standards of countries like Brazil.


This one’s nothing new, but BSI predicts that keeping data and facilities safe in the fast-paced and modular world of 2019 will only get harder. The interconnectedness of the Internet of Things in particular poses an ever growing challenge.

Stateside customs changes

US Border protection is revising the eligibility requirments of its Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), which means that companies currently enjoying the trade benefits will need to meet new, as yet unspecified criteria. Watch this space.

Exposure to terrorism in Africa

The BSI says that Trump and Xi Jinping’s continued dispute over trade is forcing a growing number of companies to shift supply chains to the region.

The world’s second most populous continent holds increasing opportunities for ambitious businesses, but leaves them particularly exposed to a "relatively unchecked risk of terrorism". No less than 23 per cent of all supply chain terror incidents occur on the continent, and there is often a greater prevelance of corruption among security and customs personnel.

Global Policy Shifts

New political regimes in Brazil - with the election of President Jair Bolsonaro - and Mexico, with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador - could have "sweeping consequences" for the cargo security and CSR efforts of businesses working or partnering in the region.

The prolonged uncertainty caused by Brexit, the US-China trade spat and the Indian elections could all have longer-term impacts on a company’s supply chain.

To view the full report, click here

Image credits: RyanKing999


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