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Strengthening The Book Industry Supply Chain

Sunday, March 29, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brian O'Leary

Last Thursday, BISG launched a survey to better understand and share how the book industry is responding to the spreading COVID-19 pandemic. It's a focused set of questions that take 4 minutes to answer.

Open to this Friday, the answers - your answers - will create a framework for a discussion led by members of the BISG board. That conversation takes place on April 9 at 11:30 a.m. ET. Scheduled for 90 minutes, the online session will share what we learned from the survey, then discuss what it means for the book industry now and in the mid-term.

We want BISG to be helpful in both time frames. One of the links in this week's newsletter, a Grant Thornton overview of how to strengthen supply chains in the face of COVID-19 disruption, offers several reminders of what we can be doing separately and collaboratively to respond to this moment.

The post offers eight lessons for mitigating supply-chain disruptions, including the one we're dealing with as the pandemic takes hold. Four of those lessons are areas where BISG can be particularly helpful:

  • Leveraging external data and models
  • Identifying the most prevalent supply-chain risks
  • Assessing supply-chain risk assessment to define the impact of disruptions across segments and product lines
  • Using quantitative modeling to establish supply chain risks based on various scenarios

Grant Thorton makes the point that external data offers an additional filter for individual firms. Trade associations like AAP, BMI, BISG, IBPA, AUPresses, and ABA can all offer data that help validate internal data and findings.

On supply-chain risks, Grant Thorton cites the value of brainstorming and the importance of understanding industry structure and its vulnerabilities. It also invokes the potential value of research studies on risk factors specific to the book publishing industry.

Conducting a risk assessment to establish the business impact of disruption tests identified risk factors against scenarios that consider probability, duration, regionality, and other considerations. The outcome is a consensus on "the possible root causes and impact zones."

The last piece, a quantitative model, potentially brings the first three pieces together. But, it requires valid data that is regularly collected and maintained. It also is enhanced when coupled with algorithms that help evaluate recurring as well as emerging and atypical risks, including the kind we are dealing with at the moment.

There's no post that will capture all of the work that we need to do to strengthen the supply chain, making it more resilient to current and future threats. Those changes require data, conversation, and a reimagining of the risks and opportunities in front of us. Kent Anderson's post for the The Geyser, published last week, offers a set of ten environmental changes that may affect publishing. They aren't certain, but they are a challenging start to the conversations we need to have.

These are all areas in which BISG can play a useful role. To help us do that, take a few minutes to complete the survey. And think about joining the conversation on April 9. It won't be the last thing we ask you to join, but it will be an important start.


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