How to find weak links in your supply chain

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Just as all politics is local, so are supply chains local. If one of your key manufacturers in Asia or a big IT service provider in South America goes down after a disaster, you might, too.

More than ever, CIOs must create and test disaster-recovery and business-continuity plans, not just for your own operations, but for the extended supply chains on which your company has come to rely. That means you have to worry about your suppliers and your suppliers' suppliers.

According to Protiviti, a management consulting firm, only achieving customer loyalty tops managing supply-chain risks on this year's list of business challenges. And you can be sure you won't keep even the most loyal customers if your products can't get to them, says Manesh Patel, CIO of Sanmina-SCI, a $6.6 billion company that makes medical devices, military equipment and other electronics.

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