Believe it or not, our supply chains have become highly technical. Technological advancements in supply chains have led to significant gains in efficiencies as well as improved accuracy and tracking capabilities. We have fully eclipsed where we were even 10 years ago.
However, there are still a number of substantial hiccups and glitches that continue to happen in the system even with the help of technology. These range from traditional mistakes during transition periods to large cybersecurity threats that could take down the entire business for days. Difficulties such as these are the challenges that many supply chain managers face regularly.
One often overlooked issue with technological advancements is optimism bias. The issue has played an outsized role in some of the major problems that have come up recently in supply chain management. Taking the time to address it can help with preparing for supply chain disasters and improving efficiency during unexpected, unideal scenarios.
What is optimism bias?
Nobody wants to think that bad things are going to happen to their business. We’re much happier to believe that the good times are the normal status quo. Though optimism is an important factor in running a successful company, so is realism. The reality is that there are going to be problems that come up and have to be dealt with and they will slow business production down until they are solved.
Chronic optimism can actually have a negative impact on business proceedings. For instance, employees can start to get comfortable doing a dangerous job and become careless. A manager with optimism bias may lull themselves into believing that the employees are always following the rules and fail to post safety signage. Even something as simple as posting signs warning of danger can help combat optimism bias by reminding employees of the realities of their working environment.
Optimism bias can be particularly dangerous when it comes to things such as cybersecurity planning. Many company leaders like to think or hope that nothing like a cybersecurity threat is going to happen to them. However, the number of threats is growing annually — and lulling yourself into a false sense of security is a recipe for disaster. It can be the difference between taking important preventative measures and being totally unprepared for issues.
Taking steps to address the concern
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to begin to address optimism bias and make appropriate preparations for the company. New technologies are constantly emerging that can make supply chains more efficient, effective, and secure. Taking advantage of the most practical ones for the security of the company is a critical step.
In the cybersecurity world, the mantra is ‘hope for the best, prepare for the worst.’ This means being vigilant in completing company training and making sure that everyone understands the signs of a major security breach. Additionally, it means combatting optimism bias by never allowing yourself to be comfortable and always seeking out better and stronger means of protecting the company from what could happen.
The cybersecurity landscape is constantly changing and evolving. Almost as soon as one problem is solved, another one crops up. In order to address some of these issues, more companies are starting to collaborate on the types of security threats they are seeing and how to deal with them. Others are working to build stronger networks of professionals and improve the safeguards that are protecting company information.
Optimism bias continues to play a role in supply chain companies today. Working to combat optimism bias by remaining vigilant about the real likelihood of problems isn’t always easy, but it is an essential aspect of being successful in the long term. Though we all like to plan for the best outcomes, it is a strong business practice to be prepared for the worst ones.