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The risk from Just In Time business models
13 March 2014, 09:52,
The risk from Just In Time business models
'Just-in-time' business models put UK at greater risk in event of disasters, warns thinktank
Chatham House report says Britain could only withstand a week of disruption after a major event before spiralling into chaos
• Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent
• The Guardian, Friday 6 January 2012

The Icelandic volcanic ash cloud is cited in the report as the kind of major incident that can put lean, 'just-in-time' production processes under pressure. Photograph: Ingolfur Juliusson/Reuters
The UK could stand "at most a week" of disruption if a natural or man-made disaster struck before severe problems, economic and social, that would bring chaos to the country, according to a new report from the international affairs thinktank Chatham House.
The authors blame a complacent reliance on the globalised economy and the widespread adoption of "just-in-time" business models that stress lean, ultra-efficient operations with little slack built in for any unforeseen circumstances or stock held in reserve.
With public services and businesses being run as if constantly in crisis mode, even in normal circumstances, there is little flexibility when a real crisis strikes.
The problem is compounded as national and local governments are underprepared for disasters, despite a growing range of intensifying threats and recent experiences around the world, from the Icelandic ash cloud to the nuclear crisis in Japan.
"Slow-motion" crises such as water shortages, resource scarcity and the impact of climate change also present a range of new difficulties that will put added strain on the public and private sectors, they say.
Beyond a one-week disruption, "costs can escalate rapidly once transport networks (or major production centres) are disrupted for more than a few days", according to the report, entitled "Preparing for high-impact, low-probability events", from the Royal Institute of International Affairs. As the economic impact is felt, vital infrastructure, from food and water supplies to energy and communications network, could fall under threat, it says.
Bernice Lee, lead author of the report, said: "The frequency of high-impact, low-probability events in the last decade signals the emergence of a new 'normal'. Apparent one-off high-profile crises such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Macondo oil spill and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami were all mega-disasters… marking the beginning of a crisis trend."
One way suggested by the report to help the public cope better with the impact of disasters is to make use of social media networks. Governments have largely ignored the rapid uptake of social media in planning for how to communicate with the public in the event of large-scale disaster, but the report found it could be a valuable tool as a "one-stop shop" for information and advice.
Today's report echoes the warnings of scientists, engineers and public utilities in the past few years over the UK's lack of preparedness even for predictable events, such as serious floods, droughts and storms.
Many of the world's fall-back systems are now stretched even in good times – for instance, food stocks and particularly grain stores globally have in recent years fallen to historically low levels under the impact of heightened demand and rising prices.
In the UK, these vulnerabilities are increased by the country's consumption habits and infrastructure. The UK is heavily dependent on imports of food and of energy. Britain's gas supplies in the North Sea are in rapid decline, but for the UK it is a key fuel, both for heating and for electricity generation, forcing far more to be imported. If these pipelines were disrupted, chaos would not be far away: despite pledges to build new gas storage infrastructure, there is often only a few days' worth of extra capacity stored within the system.
Petrol supplies too would be under threat after only a few days of disruption, and the vulnerability of transport networks means getting food and vital services to people affected by disasters becomes difficult very quickly. Even water supplies could be threatened in a prolonged disaster, as water storage networks are under strain and building new reservoirs – which utilities warn are needed – is extremely hard because of planning restrictions.
Lee also said that businesses should take a lead in building in greater resilience to their operations, even though this would mean moving away from "just-in-time" business models – meaning a hit to short-term profitability while companies adjust and built more slack into their systems.
Lee said: "Industries – especially high-value manufacturing – may need to reconsider their just-in-time business model in an interdependent world."

13 March 2014, 10:09,
RE: The risk from Just In Time business models
So what are we trying to say here. There is nothing extra we can do, there is nothing extra that needs to be done and unless you are interested in JIT system and risk management there is nothing of interest?

Have I missed something?
Skean Dhude
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. - Charles Darwin
13 March 2014, 23:37,
RE: The risk from Just In Time business models
JIT business models are a symptom of us, as a civilisation, putting efficiency ahead of resilience. There is an inverse relationship between the two. Resilience implies having excess or redundant resources or systems, which is anathema to those who seek to optimise or squeeze every last bit of efficiency out of our systems.

This is relevant to prepping, as we can apply the same principles to our own situation. Many households work on an "efficiency" or Just-in-time model; one form of heating (often central heating provided by a single gas boiler), minimal food in store, often through lack of space, combi-boilers, meaning no water in store - everything fed directly from the mains, etc. Resilience would imply multiple ways of cooking, solid fuel heating that can use different fuels, a deep store of food, etc.

Many households in the UK would do well to ignore marketing messages promising efficiency or "cost saving" and just play out a few "what if" scenarios in their heads. Buying choices then look quite different.
14 March 2014, 13:59,
RE: The risk from Just In Time business models
JIT is the exact opposite of prepping. They assume that there are no risks in the supply chain and that their predictions are always right.

It is the supply chain equivalent of the Titanic. Everything is fine until it isn't and if that isn't is big enough it causes massive issues which have impact all over the place. Including those that don't know they are dependant on it.
Skean Dhude
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. - Charles Darwin
14 March 2014, 19:32,
RE: The risk from Just In Time business models
So who has the responsibility of stocking your emergency supplies, you or the shop keeper, big box store or shipping firm?

GB has been on a JIT system since the mid 18th century when they crossed over the consumption/production threshold.

I thought that was why people in GB became preppers.

That is why I became a prepper, the certainty of supply line interruption due to natural or man made circumstances.
14 March 2014, 20:47,
RE: The risk from Just In Time business models
JIT is just one of the reasons I became a prepper.....when tshtf I will be the guy Acting panic with the masses...and laughing all the way my well prepped shit and die MFs
To take a look back in times past, its easy to see future direction you need to be.
14 March 2014, 21:04,
RE: The risk from Just In Time business models
As someone with a degree in business management, can I just say that without the JIT business model, things would cost a hell of a lot more. It's thanks to the JIT business model that things have become more efficient and affordable.

Granted the downside is the possibility of disruption to the supply chain, but every company has contingencies and is constantly refining their processes to avoid problems.

If you want to pay 30% more for everything you own, that's your choice, but it is thanks to the JIT business model that we are able to afford the lifestyle we have and are able to become preppers in the first place.

How ironic.
Dissent is the highest form of Patriotism - Thomas Jefferson
Those who sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither - Benjamin Franklin
16 March 2014, 09:46,
RE: The risk from Just In Time business models
So, we have the JIT grid. We have the Utilities grid as well. We have the Economic Slavery grid also. Then there is the WWW grid..... could go on, but that's enough.
It's all about Business and the result of that activity is Profit for someone, or a group.
With Business there comes Efficiency and JIT is, indeed, a product of that requirement.
We can get too focussed on other people's requirements and therefore at some point in our lives we need to be able to stand back from all of this scurrying around feeding grids etc. and reflect on 'what is going on' and 'do I need to be as greatly involved with all of this as I currently am'?
At that point you make a choice, and, hopefully, act upon it.
In many ways, in my late teens/early twenties I did that. In todays parlance I became a Survivor but not a Prepper. I have always 'done my own thing' and been slightly independent. If that means that the resultant insulation that my family and I have with regard to the 'unknown event' gives me a slight edge or advantage then so be it. Everyone has the choice to do or not to do. This is why I like this site and its forum - I feel a certain feeling that I am unable to put into words that generally it is most useful/beneficial to those of a like mind.
JIT is all well and good if everything is nice and cosy and running smoothly. When it is not then the brown stuff hits the whirling blades and we have a problem. Anticipate a problem and act upon it - that is what we need to do.
16 March 2014, 10:44,
RE: The risk from Just In Time business models
as far as supermarket JIT goes we've all seen how that can go awry, in the "fuel protests" the local supermarkets(we were living in Somerset then) had empty shelves within 48 hours, all the bread and milk went within the first 24 hours, in a longer maybe permanent event it'll all go a lot quicker than that. I did notice the smaller stores got resupplied but the larger one's didn't cos the smaller stores(Londis, Spar and the like) used smaller trucks.

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