Think Supply Chain

Think Supply Chain

Leading the supply chain conversation

Join the supply chain conversation with Sharon Rice, executive director of the APICS Educational and Research (E&R) Foundation. Explore topics including the role of supply chain planning in corporate success, how sustainability and corporate social responsibility enable the bottom line, global supply chain risk management, and more. Comments are welcome. 


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Shining the Spotlight on Sandy's Heroes

by APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi CSCP, CPA, CAE | N/A 2012 | 0 | 0
APICS Operations Management NowAPICS is a partner of the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), an organization that leverages supply chain resources and expertise to help in disaster situations. ALAN is working to identify needs in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. If you are able to provide any support during this critical time, please visit www.alanaid.org

Its name has morphed from Hurricane Sandy to “Superstorm Sandy.” With a wrath that stretches along the east coast, it’s easy to see the reason for the name change. The hurricane’s winds and rain left devastating flooding and power outages in its wake. Our hearts go out to those affected. 

Amid the news of the destruction, I am inspired by stories of heroism that have come to light. Take, for example, the nurses and a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) crew at New York University’s Tisch Hospital, who evacuated more than 200 patients after power failed during the storm. “The paramedics and rescue workers, some New Yorkers and others from as far away as Kentucky, carried out the job without a single casualty,” Yahoo News reports.

The article also lauds Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for their efforts on behalf of the people in their states. Plus, praise goes to firefighters across the Northeast, including the New York Fire Department’s Emily Rahimi, who led the department’s official Twitter feed and kept New Yorkers informed.

An article in Popular Mechanics notes the heroism of swift-water rescue teams, first responders trained to save people from fast-moving rivers and raging floodwaters. “Most of these teams are self-sufficient after they deploy; during Sandy, some teams prepared to sleep in flooded areas for 72 hours,” the author writes. The article applauds the unwavering teams of the US Army Corps of Engineers, who drained floodwaters from infrastructure, as well as the Animal League’s Emergency Response Team, which housed cats and dogs that were not allowed in emergency shelters with their owners.

Resilient supply chains

As many of us in the United States continue to deal with Hurricane Sandy’s consequences, I hope you too find inspiration from stories of heroism. Every day, I remain proud of what you do as supply chain and operations management professionals. I am heartened by a news article that highlights your efforts and skill.

In Wired magazine, Marcus Wohlsen writes: “While news of flooding, power outages, downed trees, and other storm-inflicted wreckage abounds, you won’t hear stories of mass starvation in the streets. Food may not be moving in or out of [New York City], but the data-driven supply chains perfected by some of the world’s biggest companies in the pursuit of profits have become so resilient that even a cataclysm like Sandy registers as little more than a logistical hiccup.”

The article describes how Sysco, a food distributor, planned for the storm. Decision makers there adjusted shipments to include more nonperishable goods in order to ensure customers had food despite power outages. They added generators at Sysco warehouses to keep refrigerators functioning. And, experts prioritized deliveries to institutions such as hospitals, hotels, airports, and shelters that had to keep large numbers of people fed through the storm.

You do important work every day. I invite you to share some of your stories following Hurricane Sandy on our website and on the APICS Supply Chain Channel.

Once again, if you wish to help with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, please visit the American Logistics Aid Network, www.alanaid.org, or the American Red Cross, www.redcross.org.

In other news

Related APICS education

  • Your Resilient Supply
    By Mohanish Makharia, Gerhard Plenert, PhD, and Ramanan Sambukumar
    January/February 2012, APICS magazine