Sunday, July 29, 2012

Crisis Management and Resilient Leaders

People are starting to take notice.

It is hard not to -- with record-breaking temperatures in the United States this summer, severe drought enveloping many states, including some of our major grain and corn states, which will surely drive prices up for food products, extreme weather events and storms happening with increasing frequency, plus climate change even affecting our infrastructure -- from our roads to our electric power networks.

There is even a blood shortage this summer -- the worst in 15 years -- being reported by the Red Cross, partially attributed to the storms and heat this summer.

We have been researching fragile critical infrastructure networks and even wrote the book, Fragile Networks, in which we defined terms such as robustness and quantified synergies associated with network integration, through the prism of supply chains, since, truly, it is supply chains that link our economic activities together through production, transportation, storage, and ultimate distribution. I spoke on Building Resiliency in Washington DC on a special Transportation Research Board panel.

Our world is changing and  leaders must become aware of crisis management.

We are in need of Resilient Leaders.

The Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst has on its homepage the following:

Resilient Leadership for an Evolving Business Climate

and it is great to see new courses being taught around this theme and new initiatives.

There is a feature news article, Students Learn Crisis Management in Innovative Isenberg Course,  on the new course in Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare  that I taught in Spring 2012. In the course, we had speakers from the National Guard, the Red Cross, the UMass emergency preparedness group, and even a disaster communication expert and a former student of mine from the profit sector, who has worked in healthcare. Nice to see my students quoted in the article.

Yes, even the army has realized the importance of location theory in determining where its critical supplies should be stored since it expects a greater role in humanitarian crises and evacuation management -- topics that we studied in my course and timely response and deliveries can save lives in crises.

Our research from blood supply chains to supply chain metrics in the case of disasters can be accessed on the Virtual Center for Supernetworks website.