A research-driven assessment examines the role of supply chain risk management in the financial industry.
In this business book, vander Straeten (An Overture to Geofinance, 2018, etc.) makes a case for distinguishing supply chain risk management from general risk management in banking and financial organizations. The author explains why supply chain risk management is a crucial business process that ensures corporate stability and minimal disruption from rare but potentially disastrous events. Vander Straeten reviews and synthesizes much of the existing literature on the topic, and a lengthy bibliography supports the book’s detailed presentation of supply chain risk management research. The volume establishes the theoretical frameworks the author uses throughout the text, including the major difference between supply chains in service industries and those in enterprises that produce tangible goods (“Service supply chain deals with flow of information, capacity, and cash”). He then explains the various components of supply chain risk management, including service-level agreements, resilience, metrics, and the role of capital. After laying the groundwork for its arguments, the book contends that supply chain risk management should be an integral part of planning in the financial sector. According to the author, “Four primary external risk factors are driving the need for improved supply chain resiliency: (i) the demand-driven nature of today’s markets; (ii) environmental compliance; (iii) globalization; and (iv) increased market velocity.” Vander Straeten details why and how business leaders should incorporate this process into their strategies. Best practices for managing and responding to risks are also presented.
The text is informative but extremely dense and most appropriate for readers with knowledge of financial and banking practices, although it does attempt to define the many specialized terms and concepts necessary to understanding the book. Readers will find that the author is extremely knowledgeable about the subject and has produced a volume based on substantial research. He makes a compelling case for an approach to risk management that acknowledges the unique position of the service industry supply chain, distinguishing it both from supply chain management for physical goods and the operational risk management that is part of a financial institution’s regular business processes. The prose is often clear and direct (“When the disruption has happened, KPIs can also be useful in monitoring the impacts and taking actions”; “Investment in risk management is designed to avoid something happening, rather than to make something happen”), but there are limitations. While the book is highly illuminating, it addresses its concepts primarily in general terms and is less effective at providing concrete examples of how the ideas it covers can be implemented in practice. There are few specific instances of how to manage risk in the service supply chain. This is one work where the addition of anecdotes—either stories of real companies instigating new procedures or case studies of fictional scenarios—would have made it a more useful tool for those looking to make risk management decisions. In addition, the volume would benefit from further editing, including cutting some repetitive sections. Vander Straeten has a tendency to repeat himself in detail—often word for word—at paragraph length (for example, the discussions of “mega-disasters...tsunami” on pages 21 and 110).
A thorough and enlightening exploration of the importance of supply chain risk management that needs more examples for readers.