Although the Australian food supply chain has proved to be resilient when faced with disruption caused by local or regional crises, businesses should also know what it takes to be prepared for more widespread or large-scale disrupters. These could include a human or animal pandemic, a national fuel shortage, or a combination of events that affect several links in the food supply chain at the same time.
According to a 2012 report by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, several members of the industry were unaware of their role in community welfare objectives if a disaster were to occur. Although it was clear that many believed it was a priority to keep stores open, planning for potential food supply problems beyond immediate commercial objectives were seen as issues to be figured out by the government.
On the other side, some parts of the government involved in emergency management did not fully understand the capabilities or limits of the food industry’s ability to maintain their supply; some entities even believed that some food providers would hand out food free of charge.
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Every company should be aware of their course of action should a situation arise that disrupts their supply chain on a large scale. Although one cannot be prepared for every variable, knowing your options when a crisis does arise can help with the recovery of you business after the issue passes. Below are five questions you should routinely ask yourself about your food supply chain to be prepared for any issues.
Could your food supply chain:
Adapt to a disruption with a large part of the population or on a big geographic scale? What happens if certain elements of the chain breakdown beyond that point?
Adapt to a disruption for specific types of foods or inputs to foods up to a certain level of scope? What would you do to manage issues after that level?
Manage a strong response to a disruption for a certain period of time? Are you prepared for further problems?
Get to certain sections of the community, like distribution to low-income or tourist-heavy areas?
- And other sections of the industry keep up with each other? If your supply chain depends on others, could that company handle the disrupters as well?
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