National Academies Press: OpenBook

Freight Transportation Resilience in Response to Supply Chain Disruptions (2019)

Chapter: Chapter 7: Implementing the Results of This Research

« Previous: Chapter 6: Guidance for Stakeholder Mitigation and Adaptation of Supply Chains to Disruption
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 7: Implementing the Results of This Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Freight Transportation Resilience in Response to Supply Chain Disruptions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25463.
Page 78
Page 79
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 7: Implementing the Results of This Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Freight Transportation Resilience in Response to Supply Chain Disruptions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25463.
Page 79

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78 CHAPTER 7: IMPLEMENTING THE RESULTS OF THIS RESEARCH This report described multiple examples of the impacts that large scale disruptions can have on the nation’s transportation system that are essential to supply chains. These disruptions can be caused by natural or man-made disasters, or by deliberate attacks against transportation and information infrastructure. Due to the interconnectivity of the nation’s transportation system, such disruptions can have a multiplier effect on the transportation system which can impact critical sections of the freight supply chain and ultimately impact regional economies. This material below section describes strategies to implement the results of this research. Given the institutional and process orientation of this research, implementing the results of this research will very much rely on demonstrating its usefulness to the many different participants of the supply chain. Possible ways of doing so include: Conduct Pilot Studies of the Guidance Application: Identify 3 to 4 State DOTs who are willing to work with their freight/logistics/emergency response partners to pilot the application of the guidance. This would entail developing materials to support such efforts, and possible use of third-party facilitators in the dialogue. Collect Data on Supply Chain Disruptions: Very few studies or data collection efforts have been undertaken on disruptions to supply chains when an incident occurs on the transportation system. Most of the data collection and information is anecdotal. This effort would establish a capability, perhaps an “on-call” research team under the auspices of TRB similar to teams funded by the National Science Foundation in the aftermath of earthquakes, to immediately investigate supply chain impacts of major incidents. Such data collection would provide a strong analysis foundation for incorporating such concerns into decision making. Conduct Pre-incident and Planning-oriented Transportation Resilience Exercises: Full scale and tabletop exercises are effective tools for simulating supply chain disruptions or events requiring emergency response and transportation system management. However, almost all these efforts focus on incident response. Tabletop exercises should be developed for the pre-planning of incident response, highlighting the different roles and responsibilities for the planning of the transportation system. Public and private stakeholders collaborate on best practices for responding to supply chain disruptions. Potential outcomes include being able to explain the sequence of events to ensure best practices, techniques, and skills to prepare for a disruptive event, and understanding unique perspectives and approaches to preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. Incorporate Supply Chain Concerns into Current Tabletop and Field Exercises: Almost all of the current tabletop exercises used by emergency management agencies (and their partners) focus on incident response, which as it should be. This effort would simply develop and provide to such exercises some consideration that the incident might have on supply chains (and why that might be important to the community). Establish State Transportation Resiliency Advisory Committees: As State DOTs develop mitigation strategies for key freight system disruptions, it is important to engage with stakeholders to develop in resiliency strategies. An effective way to capture their input is through the establishment of an advisory committee so that they can provide input throughout the effort. This could be accomplished by a stand-alone committee or by creating a subcommittee of the State Freight Advisory Committee. Members should be mix of private and public sector representatives. Once established, committee meetings should be scheduled at key milestones to provide an opportunity for input and discussion. Materials should be developed to support such an effort. Develop and Use Resiliency Performance Measures (See Research Statement Below): In today’s planning environment, performance measures are key focal points for what is considered a desirable system performance. There are very few resiliency measures in existence, and even fewer that include components of disruptions to supply chains. This effort would provide information to transportation officials on how such performance metrics can be used and the types of strategies that might be considered (found in the guidance).

79 Present Results in Logistics/Freight Forums: Most of the publications in the management literature on resilient supply chains focuses on internal procedures and organizational structures of the firms involved. It is important to broaden this perspective to include all the participants in a supply chain disturbance…including public agencies. This can be done by presenting material in the management literature and/or at supply chain conferences. Develop Training Courses: As far as could be determined, there are no training courses that look at system resiliency and what transportation agencies can do to better prepare for and respond to disruptions. The material in this research would provide a very good foundation for such a training course, augmented with emergency response material. This emphasis on impacts to supply chains and the reverberating impacts throughout the supply chain would be emphasized in such training.

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TRB’s National Cooperative Freight Research Program (NCFRP) has released a pre-publication version of Research Report 39: Freight Transportation Resilience in Response to Supply Chain Disruptions. The report provides guidance to public and private stakeholders on mitigating and adapting to logistical disruptions to supply chains resulting from regional, multi-regional, and national adverse events, both unanticipated and anticipated.

The report, which makes a significant contribution to the body of knowledge on freight transportation and system resiliency:

(1) assesses research, practices, and innovative approaches in the United States and other countries related to improving freight transportation resiliency;

(2) explores strategies to build relationships that result in effective communication, coordination, and cooperation among affected parties;

(3) identifies factors affecting resiliency;

(4) analyzes potential mitigation measures;

(5) characterizes spatial and temporal scale considerations such as emergency planning and response timeframes;

(6) prioritizes response activities by cargo types, recipients, and suppliers;

(7) identifies potential barriers and gaps such as political boundaries, authorities, ownership, modal competition and connectivity, and social and environmental constraints; and

(8) examines the dynamics of supply chain responses to system disruptions.

The report also includes a self-assessment tool that allows users to identify the current capability of their organization and institutional collaboration in preparing for and responding to supply chain disruptions.

Disruptions to the supply chain and their aftermath can have serious implications for both public agencies and companies. When significant cargo delays or diversions occur, the issues facing the public sector can be profound.

Agencies must gauge the potential impact of adverse events on their transportation system, economy, community, and the resources necessary for preventive and remedial actions, even though the emergency could be thousands of miles away.

Increasing temporary or short-term cargo-handling capacity may involve a combination of regulatory, informational, and physical infrastructure actions, as well as coordination across jurisdictional boundaries and between transportation providers and their customers.

For companies, concerns can include such issues as ensuring employee safety, supporting local community health, maintaining customer relationships when products and goods are delayed, and ultimately preserving the financial standing of the company.

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