Bob Forsyth – The risk of ignoring supply chain risk

Bob Forsyth - Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management
Bob Forsyth - Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management

Bob Forsyth, the Managing Director of MITIE Total Security Management (TSM) introduces his fifteenth blog on Bob writes: “We know that these challenging economic times will be causing business leaders concern in how they will weather the difficult financial conditions. And in such testing times, it is natural that their focus will be on financial survival, but is this at the detriment to addressing other business risks that they might be leaving themselves exposed to?

“In recent years we have seen significant natural disasters; the New York super storm in December and the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 2011 to name just two. Both created huge supply chain challenges for the affected companies which has led me to ask how we, businesses in the UK, would cope with an event that impacted our supply chains.

“Although the UK is fortunate not to live with the constant threat of earthquake, hurricane, wild fire or avalanche, 2012 was the second wettest year on record and we are seeing more and more serious instances of flooding. We are also impacted by any international disasters depending on the location of those in our supply chains; due to the global marketplace, the impact affects countries far away from the epicentre of the disaster.

“Natural disasters often hit without sufficient warning and affect a city’s or country’s critical infrastructure and ability to manufacture. Whilst rare, the scale of what occurs often overwhelms any existing defence measures resulting in an unprecedented scenario.

“In the case of the Japanese tsunami, 827 roads, 47 bridges and seven railways were damaged. When you consider the enormous impact this disruption to our networks would have on any of our counties and major cities, we can start to understand the importance of the resilience of our supply chains.

“Japan saw a huge negative impact on its economic growth, and the Japanese government has estimated that the direct economic damages are 4% of its GDP. This highlights the risk not only to organisations individually but to our national economy as a whole; which in its own fragile state would struggle to cope with such a hit to the stock market.

“The learning points from this have to be that companies must ensure that their business continuity and disaster recovery plans are robust enough to cope with the unexpected. There will always be crises to respond to, most will not be of the magnitude of a natural disaster, but occasionally businesses will need to respond to a situation that will test the resilience and ability to return to normal operations as quickly as possible.

“Whilst our domestic floods do not have the same impact as a tsunami or hurricane, they are however becoming more frequent and do cause businesses to close and affect our infrastructure. The true financial impact is yet to be determined but what is clear is that writing a business continuity plan (BCP) after the event is too late. And for those companies that do have a BCP in place, leaving it filed away, never having been reviewed also makes it ineffective. No plan or a bad plan leads to prolonged downtime and lost revenue.

“In my view, the supply chain is the single biggest area of risk that is left untested and this is an area that should be far higher in companies’ priorities.”

MITIE Total Security Management Website

With over 17 years’ experience in the security industry, Bob is a proven achiever at a high level. He is a strong relationship builder who is financially astute with excellent negotiation and communication skills, with the ability to work with people at every level. A team player, Bob is able to lead by example.

Bob was promoted to the position of Managing Director of MITIE’s security business in April 2010 after several notable achievements since joining the company in 2004, including his win of the prestigious MITIE new business award.

Having successfully implemented the merger with Initial Security in the Southern region and developing a profitable part of the business, Bob has continuously worked towards expansion including the implementation of the response service, and has significantly contributed towards year on year growth. In June 2009, Bob initiated the launch of the business’ total security management ethos; to take an integrated risk-based approach to security, incorporating people, technology and consultancy services.

Bob continues to move the business forward and has delivered record EBITA profit. He has increased business retention and launched new services lines including lone worker, void secure, employee screening, and security risk and business resilience. Under his leadership, MITIE’s total security management business has grown into an organisation with a turnover in excess of £280m. He takes every opportunity to promote MITIE’s presence within the industry through his involvement with industry bodies such as City Security and Resilience Networks (CSARN) and the British Security Industry Authority (BSIA).

A member of the Institute of Directors (IOD), the Security Institute and Resilience Industry Suppliers Community (RISC), Bob is championing the development of the security industry from a guarding-focused, low-end purchase, to a risk-based, technology-driven industry, and plans to work closely with the BSIA and his peers to accomplish this. Bob is passionate about the security industry and enjoys speaking at events such as TINYg in New York, CSARN conferences, and various other security and risk events.

Bob writes a regular blog for the internet news provider to share his vision of the industry’s future. He is also an avid tweeter; taking to the social media site to both promote his ideas and listen to others from around the industry.

In his spare time Bob enjoys sports and is a devoted West Ham fan. He also appreciates current affairs, military history and travel.

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