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  • Writer's pictureArpit Shah

Mapping helps during times of Crisis

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

Remember the Thailand Cave Rescue incident? It was such a delicate situation and the rescue operations caught the attention and admiration of people across the world. Few know how mapping played a crucial role in the rescue plan at several junctures-

Thailand Cave Rescue Infographic. Source: Zinnov
Figure 1: Thailand Cave Rescue - Technology involved. Infographic Source: Zinnov

Incredible, isn't it?

I was exposed to the concept of 'Fully Flexible' type of supply chain, developed by Dr. John Gattorna, during an internship at his advisory and I have grown to admire this form of supply chain behavior (Get his book here).

Essentially, this type of supply chain (or supply chain behaviour) is extraordinarily resilient & proactive, even during times of grave crisis. Having revisited my literature review document now, it strikes to me that mapping (not the geographic term predominantly) plays such an important part in the formation of such supply chains.

Excerpt from the document:

"Revilla and Saenz (2014) have studied in depth the emergency supply chains of Cisco. The

company has understood and planned for risks arising out of natural disasters and improved its

resilience over time. It has learnt to “integrate supply chain design and supply chain risk

management, balancing proactive mitigation capabilities in order to keep the company’s supply

chain as resilient, efficient and profitable as possible” (p. 23). When Hurricane Katrina struck in

2005, Cisco executives created a ‘business continuity planning dashboard to mitigate risks’ (p.

23). The system was reactive, however, and it could not maintain the necessary supply chain

performance levels. A surge in orders of nearly $1bn worth of new equipment to replace

telecommunications infrastructure was not fulfilled as company executives could not locate all

its products in the supply chain or assess the financial impact of emergency sales. This led the

company to introspect and make their supply chain extremely flexible in case such a situation

arose in the future.

And so it did. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2010 had caused economic losses to world supply chains of an estimated $217bn. However, Cisco assessed the situation and suffered almost no revenue loss. It took just 12 hours for Cisco’s risk managers to identify all of the suppliers in the region and to assess the impact of disaster. The risk rating was assigned to each part and all the information was charted. On the same day managers were positioned to communicate with

customers and raised 118 enquiries. (p.24) As per the authors, Cisco had identified strategic

priorities, mapped the vulnerabilities of supply chain design, integrated risk awareness into the

product and the value chain, monitored resiliency and kept a watch for events all of which

exhibited characteristics of a fully flexible supply chain."

If you were to scan any piece of literature related to how organizations have responded during a time of crisis, you'll be certain to find several instances of the word mapping, charting or any of its variants.

Also, it is important to know that mapping has evolved from being just a medium of visual depiction to being a dynamic system to store, explore and query Geographic information, i.e. GIS. Moreover, with the evolution of technology: AI, ML, IOT can be integrated with GIS to generate superior location intelligence and insights to help you manage high-risk situations much better.

Refer our website to see explore several use cases where Mapping helps to plan, visualize and monitor during times of crisis.


Intelloc Mapping Services | Mapmyops is engaged in providing mapping solutions to organizations which facilitate operations improvement, planning & monitoring workflows. These include but are not limited to Supply Chain Design Consulting, Drone Solutions, Location Analytics & GIS Applications, Site Characterization, Remote Sensing, Security & Intelligence Infrastructure, & Polluted Water Treatment. Projects can be conducted pan-India and overseas.

Several demonstrations for these workflows are documented on our website. For your business requirements, reach out to us via email - or book a paid consultation (video meet) from the hyperlink placed at the footer of the website's landing page.



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