Sometimes a single incident in the supply chain can jeopardize the success of a company or business unit. Whether the cause are natural threats such as fire, floods, storms or earthquakes or man-made threats such as terrorism, pandemics, staff shortages, software failures, IT infrastructure and system breakdowns or explosions and fire, they all may have a tremendous impact on logistics operations.
Required by governmental law, companies need to have emergency plans for human life in case of serious incidents, but rarely there is a plan for the implicated goods. Furthermore, in such an unlikely but momentous event, not only the directly affected goods, but also the whole supply chain would be compromised.
In any of these incidents, time matters. Therefore it is mandatory to have a comprehensive contingency management plan on hand to ensure fast recovery.
Thorough risk management in logistics including risk assessment and taking continuously measures to avoid and mitigate threats is the foundation for risk averse behavior. Several departments at Rhenus are involved in this process, ranging from operational staff to Rhenus Quality Management, Rhenus department for dangerous goods and work safety as well as the customer’s key participants.
Based on the risk assessment the Rhenus Contiguency Management plan covers the following topics:
Based on the risk assessment scenario cases are defined with the corresponding impact on logistics operations. Additional to the here defined scenarios, there are separate plans for high risk areas such as automated warehousing infrastructure or IT infrastructure, for example having landline internet connections as well as a UMTS backup for each Rhenus facility.
Documentation of references to existing maintenance schedules for hardware, software and warehousing infrastructure as well as regular reviews of the infrastructure to ensure that governmental requirements are met. If applicable certain predefined key people need to be notified prior to maintenance work.
Record of responsible contact persons and contact information from Rhenus side, Customer side and if applicable 3rd Parties for the prior defined scenarios. For all contact persons there needs to be a deputy in place. Documentation of communication flow between the involved parties with defined reaction time frames to assure an open line of communication.
First a listing of support times from various relevant departments is provided. Furthermore for each of the scenarios there are particular reaction times defined until a certain action is to be carried out. This may range from initial assessment of the situation, drafts to rerouting of goods and quick finding appropriate solutions.
Determination of intervals and type of tests or drills to ensure that the Contingency Management plan works as intended.
The following measures may vary in their extend based on the temporally duration and spatial impact of the incident.
In case of staff shortages, Rhenus can resort to Rhenus staff from other facilities as well as from third party temporary employment agencies. Additional to that, logistics specialists and process reengineering experts from the Rhenus headquarter can be available on the respective site if necessary.
Rhenus has the possibility to place equipment such as forklifts, industrial truck and racks from other nearby Rhenus facilities at disposal until full replacement of equipment is reinstated.
Fundamental hardware such as handheld terminals and scanners, network cables, routers and access points are available on hand at various Rhenus IT hubs in Europe. All crucial IT data from Rhenus WMS is securely mirrored and backed up regularly, thus enabling fast recovery in case of emergencies.
If more than one hall section is compromised or it is foreseeable that a new facility is required to commence logistics operations, Rhenus has the possibility to use nearby sites to compensate in the meantime until a final warehousing solution is found. In case no facility with existing Rhenus IT-infrastructure is available, Rhenus has the possibility to set up a provisional VPN network within hours.
Rhenus mobile site for short-term connection in case of an emergency
Rhenus location link with LTE, WIFI, Firewall and Switch