Logistics Consultant: Disruption and volatility have become the new normal in today’s world of technological innovation, societal polarization and geopolitical tensions. Rather than running in fear from this reality, I believe that businesses will do much better for themselves, their shareholders, their employees and their customers if they turn around, face this reality, and embrace it.

To have the confidence and the capability to do this successfully will require the development of new skills, new perspectives and new approaches, that sadly, are sorely lacking in companies large and small across the globe. Over the last twenty years, I have had the opportunity to work with a range of companies across five continents operating in business sectors as diverse as energy, pharmaceuticals, electronics, food and medical devices. The very best of these companies do not flee from disruption and volatility, but rather they leverage them and turn them into offensive competitive weapons. This is how they outmanoeuvre their less well-informed and more fearful competitors.

How, for example, can one company in the dairy export sector trade successfully and profitably in several countries in North Africa and Latin America, while their competitors avoid these regions, missing out on sales and profits due to their, as it turns out, erroneous, perceptions of the risks of doing business in these locations? The answer is that they do this through the application of pragmatic and practical strategies, tactics, tools and processes, applied in a holistic way that allows them to understand the true nature of the risks and opportunities in their competitive environment and to act in consonance. This provides them with the confidence and commitment they need to take prudent risks, in ways that empower them to grow and thrive where others fear to tread.

If you wish to emulate these very best companies in embracing disruption and turning risk into an offensive competitive weapon, rather than using it as an exclusively defensive tool, you can use the 5-steps to success that I have developed. This is a rapid and pragmatic approach to help you to cast a wide view over your current and future competitive environment, identifying the key risks and opportunities, and to generate, evaluate, select and implement proactive initiatives to ensure that your business will grow and thrive, not in spite of the disruption and volatility that you encounter, but rather because of it.

The 5 keys to embracing risk as a competitive weapon can be summarised by the acronym WTSIT, pronounced like “What’s It?” and these are:

1. Wide Scan the competitive environment for risks.

2. Triage the risks to into three groups; those that you can eliminate, those that you can mitigate and those that you must manage.

3. Select those elements of risk that you can leverage as offensive competitive weapons.

4. Implement the actions that you are going to need to take to turn your plans into reality.

5. Take Stock of your progress, measure how you are doing versus your goals and objectives and use what you learn to improve your plans and actions.

You cannot change the volatility and risk that exist in today’s competitive environment, but you can choose your response to them. Some may hope vainly, that things will revert to the old normal, but alas, the pace of technological, demographic and societal change that is ongoing in today’s world will ensure that that is not going to happen – this is the new normal and we had better get used to it! Those who learn to embrace and leverage this volatility together with the disruption and risk that accompany it will be the big winners of the future.

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Patrick Daly

Alba Logistics Consultants Team

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