Risk engagement in an operational environment 2

Risk engagement in an operational environment

Charlotte Wales Blog, Procurement, Supply Chain

We all know risk management is a key deliverable of operational procurement but while a few of us love to get our hands dirty mapping and managing, often for most, risk awareness is limited to a once a year workshop and subsequent paper exercise that is seen as the purview of the dry and dull employee elements.

Risk isn’t sexy. For most it is unrelatable theorising that results in nothing but a spreadsheet that needs boxes ticking weekly, merely adding to the admin. But risk can be a big deal, so why do companies so often loudly extol the importance of a robust risk process without that message ever filtering out into operations?

It’s the intangibility of an activity designed to prevent the unforeseen and unlikely from becoming the inevitable. Most operational activity provides direct feedback, which in turn engages the workforce and in this arena risk doesn’t cut the mustard. Where the results of well thought out risk management strategies can save a business in more ways than one, it’s only when they fail that the adrenalin for many kicks in.

Risk professionals are an imaginative bunch, perhaps seen as overly cautious pencil pushers, they are actually the group in any organisation that builds plans for dealing with the most frightening of situations. We are the people who throw everything up on the board and ask not just how to deal with delayed production but also the big scary questions. What if this plant blew up, what if that plane crashed, what if war broke out? With varying degrees of likelihood dependant on the operational environment, we are the people who wonder.

And this is where organisations need to change their view from risk assessment and management into risk engagement. Engaging operations through risk management takes work but it is possible. Designing those scenarios and demonstrating a deep understanding of the critical failure points in any operational environment shows you understand their business. We understand their fears and if the worst does happen, we can handle it because we have a plan.