Dubai: Disruption to supply chains not only increases business costs but leads to dissatisfied customers and a tarnished brand image, UAE professionals warned at the SP Jain Supply Chain Conclave.

And although the risks associated with disruption cannot be eliminated, their impact can be reduced, delegates to the conclave, at the Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai, heard on Wednesday.

Sirish Deshpande, General Manager — Logistics at Ghassan Aboud Car, said visibility of the entire supply chain was the most important factor when it came to mitigating the risk of disruption, but continuous planning and proper implementation helped.

It was important to do a risk assessment for partners as well as one’s own organisation, he added.

Koshy Mathew, COO of Enhance UAE, part of the WJ Towell Group, agreed that planning was crucial, aided by integrated supply chains and forecasting.

Shailen Shukla, Head of Logistics for Jumbo Electronics, advised “technology, technology, technology”, pointing out that Jumbo had recently upgraded its systems to reduce the time taken for stock counts, allowing them to happen more frequently with less disruption.

Risk register

Rajesh GK, Chief Product Officer for UAE Exchange, said that the speed of currency transfers was both a benefit and a challenge, and his organisation had implemented a risk register covering transactions. It had reduced risk by outsourcing its cash supply to reduce the impact of currency fluctuations.

But not all risk can be avoided. In an earlier presentation Dr Rajiv Aserkar, Professor and Area Head — Logistics and Supply Chain at conclave organisers SP Jain School of Global Management, revealed the results of a study showing that natural disasters were involved in 33 per cent of supply chain disruptions in the Middle East, and 27 per cent in South-East Asia.

Regulations were also a major factor, contributing to 50 per cent of disruptions in the Middle East, 35 per cent of disruptions in India and 49 per cent of disruptions in South-East Asia.