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Playbooks Help Cisco Deal with Supply Chain Crises


To help manage a supply chain crisis, such as a hurricane or earthquake, Cisco Systems has developed "playbooks" which list measures to be taken when a catastrophic event threatens supply continuity. In fact, Cisco has three types of playbooks including:

  • Risk-agnostic master playbook. This comprehensive document provides a general approach for organizing a cross-functional team for the assessment, mitigation, and resolution of a general supply chain disruption. It includes key checklists, templates, protocols, and guidance on potential mitigation strategies relevant to a variety of risk exposures. It provides guidance for the formation and operation of an overall incident response team, as well as an extensive contact list that identifies the extended group of resources from across the world to draw from when creating an incident response team.
  • Incident-specific playbooks. These are similar to the master playbook, but are geared towards a specific incident. Cisco has several incident specific playbooks for to earthquakes and a pandemic playbook, among others. The playbooks provide additional details and risk mitigation guidance that is specific to the identified incident.
  • “Systemic risk” playbooks. These focus on recurring risk events such as tropical cyclones that can occur in any number of locations worldwide. These playbooks provide additional details on critical supply chain nodes in tropical cyclone risk areas, as well as guidance on established risk mitigation strategies (such as build-ahead, ship ahead strategies, etc.).

James Steele, program director, value chain risk management for Cisco, said that each of the playbooks summarizes Cisco’s “best thinking on how to respond to a supply chain disruption. They allow our team to quickly and effectively pull together the right people needed to assess and mitigate an incident.”

Steele added that playbooks are updated based on “post-mortems from actual incidents.”

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