When do supply chain leaders take costly risk-mitigating actions to recover from the impact of a natural event (i.e., a hurricane or earthquake), and when can they simply take caution?

Supply chain leaders know that managing global supply chains in today’s world is a risk-filled endeavor. The race for leaner supply chains has placed supply chain sites and suppliers in some unstable regions of the world. Events ranging from major hurricanes to social unrest and epidemics threaten to disrupt the delivery of products and services.

This topic is explored in depth as the Rensselaer Lally School of Management Center for Supply Networks and Analytics (CSNA) hosts its “Supply Chain Risk Insights Powered by Watson” seminar on Wednesday, February 22. The event will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Howard P. Isermann Auditorium.

Watson Supply Chain Insights: A view of aggregated KPIs, mobile alerts, analytics, and social collaboration tools. Photo credit: IBM

Risk Insights is a threat visualization service that uses the power of Watson to help supply chain leaders mitigate risk. The service utilizes news, weather events, and social media data using Watson technologies to deliver new insights to risk analysts.

Data is ingested from dozens of real-time reports ranging from Time Warner Cable to Twitter feeds from the National Hurricane Center. The trajectory of each named storm is monitored and displayed on Risk Insights. The storm track is supplemented with hourly analyzed news about the climatic event as it occurs. Risk analysts get the latest view of typhoons and hurricanes and are alerted when these intersect with their supply base.

This CSNA seminar covers relevant topics for supply chain leaders such as automated storm tracking, visualization, and risk assessments; automated monitoring of impactful news events and social media feeds; geospatial visualization of internal and external operations and supply chain locations; application to other risk events; risk mitigation workflow based on analytics and shared best practices.

The featured speakers are Tom Ward ’86, an enterprise services cloud and cognitive strategist at IBM, and Rahul Nahar, an enterprise services analytics, architecture, and strategy senior technical staff member at IBM.

The CSNA at the Rensselaer Lally School of Management is directed by T. Ravichandran, associate dean for research and the Irene and Robert Bozzone ’55 Distinguished Professor at Lally. This center of excellence is dedicated to research and education in the fields of supply chain management and business analytics. The center’s research activities and events are targeted at both academic and managerial audiences, in particular for the technology-intensive and advanced manufacturing firm industries.

The CSNA also complements the Lally M.S. in Supply Chain Management program that features a business core, a supply chain core that includes both modeling and quantitative approaches, and a supply chain capstone project. In addition, the center is also aligned with the Lally M.S. in Business Analytics program in which students learn to amass, organize, and analyze huge quantities of data from multiple sources to draw insights that improve business decision-making.