More often than not, supply chain disruptions are a mere annoyance, but there are many cases to prove that what was thought to be a "minor disturbance" in the end turned out to threaten a company's very existence. The textbook example is Nokia and Ericsson in the now (in)famous Albuquerque Philips plant fire incident. While Nokia managed to act quickly, Ericsson didn't. In the end, Nokia went on to become a world leader in mobile phones, while Ericsson had to merge with Sony in order to survive.
The story of Nokia and Ericsson is intruiging indeed, because both companies took a very different approach toward the incident, and in hindsight, clearly displaying how to and how not to handle supply chain disruptions. In his book "The Spiders Strategy", Amit S Mukherjee spends a whole chapter detailing the incident and how Nokia and Ericsson acted upon it.
Ericsson learned its lesson and now has a completely different supply chain risk management system in place. It starts with mapping all the components and and products many tiers upstream the supply chain and identifies critical suppliers and sites that have to be prioritized and assessed further. After a rough assessment on how shortage will affect the supply chain, a more thorough investigation into probability and impact of different accidents at different suppliers is conducted to assess the impact on the supply chain as a whole, particularly the impact on business recovery time. Finally, risk management actions (protection) are evaluated against risk costs (impact and consequences), to avoid over-action or over-insurance against incidents.
Not only Ericsson, but many other companies have also learned from this incident. Exposure to risk always has a price, and as a company one should think through what price (or rather cost, as in disruption cost) that is acceptable or not. Remember, a well-handled supply chain disruption is a prerequisite for business continuity, while an ill-handled supply chain disruption in a worst-case scenario may mean business dis-continuity.
Norrman, A., & Jansson, U. (2004). Ericsson’s proactive supply chain risk management approach after a serious sub-supplier accident. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 34 (5), 434-456