Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, Supply Chain Featured Topics at ACP Meeting

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 10:15am
Joe Shust, Editor

Business continuity, disaster recovery and leadership in supply chain management were the topics covered when the New York Metro Area chapter of the Association of Contingency Planners met on Thursday, July 17 at power utility National Grid’s MetroTech office in Brooklyn.

The session featured presentations by Gary Dionne and Gene Buerkle of National Grid and Rutgers University Professor Dr. Arash Azadegan.  

Dionne, who serves as Global Resilience Policy Director at National Grid, gave a brief presentation about his company’s business continuity and resiliency program.  He was joined by Buerkle, who is the U.S. Resilience and Continuity Director for the utility.

Dionne and Buerkle discussed their storm response policy, which is critical for the utility’s 3.4 million electrical and 3.5 million gas customers in the United States.  Dionne talked about the use of the Incident Command System, which has streamlined National Grid’s emergency response, which helps define the roles of the company during storms.  He said every employee, even those who work in office roles, have an established role during storms.

Dionne also said social media plays a role in storm response as well.  Customers are able to report outages and other issues on the National Grid Website.  He also discussed the utility’s predictive modeling software, which can help anticipate storm severity and damage to an area.  

According to Dionne, the utility is continuing to grow its worldwide continuity program with a focus on supply chain management.

Azadegan conducts research on supply chain disruptions, recover and innovation.  He manages the Supply Chain Disruption Resource Laboratory at Rutgers.  His current research focuses on leadership and recovery during disruptions.

Before he began presenting, Azadegan had meeting attendees participate in his research by completing an activity.  Attendees were given packets that contained a scenario involving a supply chain disruption.  They were given three potential candidates to serve as leaders and asked to pick one based on their attributes and the situation they were given.

Azadegan went on to discuss various disruptions and how complications in the modern world lead to more supply chain disruptions than in the past.  He gave examples of something as simple as Levi jeans, which will travel between 19 different countries before being completed and as large as the Japanese Tsunami, which severely hurt the automobile industry in Detroit.

While understanding supply chain basics is importance, Azadegan stressed that it is critical to have a strong leader when tackling disruptions.  He said different leadership styles lend themselves better to different times of disruptions and finding the right person for the specific disruption is key.

The New York Metro Area Chapter of the Association of Contingency Planners will host its next meeting in September at the New York City Office of Emergency Management.  There will be no meeting in August.


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