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Double Trouble: Hurricanes or Wildfires and COVID-19: Identify Risks and Maintain Global Supply Chain Resiliency
Thomas Ward, AI Project Leader • IBM

Galen Smith, Chief PO for IBM Supply Chain Blockchain • IBM


During the COVID outbreak, how do global supply chain leaders know when to take costly risk mitigating actions to recover from the pandemic or the impact of a natural event like a hurricane or wildfire and when can they take caution, but no action? Managing global supply chains is a risky business. The race for leaner operations has placed sites, clients and suppliers in some unstable regions of the world. The ability to analyze data across multiple alert services on a real-time basis, using geo-spatial, temporal and ensemble learning to identify high probability impacting risk events is challenging. Operations Risk Insight (ORI) analyzes thousands of news sources and alert service details daily. There are too many data sources, warnings, watches and advisories for an individual to understand. For example, during a week in mid-2020 with record wildfires, hurricanes and COVID hotspots across the US, thousands of impacting risk events hit key points of interest to IBM globally and are analyzed in real time. Which events impacted IBM’s business, and which didn’t? ORI has saved IBM millions of dollars annually for the past 5 years. Find out how supply chain leaders identify severe risks using Watson, the Hybrid Cloud, Big Data, Machine Learning and AI.


Thomas Ward is currently an AI Project Leader within the Chief Data Officer (CDO) organization. In this capacity, he leads the global development and deployment of cloud and AI projects across the supply chain. He has led supply chain cloud projects over the past twelve years. For the past seven years, Thomas has led the implementation of several Watson AI applications for the IBM Internal Supply Chain. He has been a featured supply chain conference speaker and published author in several magazines. Thomas is a Senior Technical Staff Member (STSM), IBM Academy of Technology Leadership Team Member and one of 25 certified Supply Chain Management Professional – Consultants, globally within IBM. Thomas has over 30 years of technical leadership experience with IBM in all facets of the supply chain from manufacturing engineering to production supervision and materials management through logistics and procurement.

Galen Smith, IBM Systems Supply Chain, Chief PO for Blockchain. Galen is an accelerator of transformation in IBM's AI-enabled Supply Chain, utilizing design thinking, agile and cutting-edge technology to generate change and adoption. Galen has led large scale transformation initiatives across all areas of the supply chain, demonstrating her leadership and expertise validated through her professional certifications (PMP, CPIM, CSCP, CSM, SA) and industry recognition, including National Association of Manufacturers' 2019 Artificial Intelligence and Analytics Leadership award for "Augmented Intelligence for IBM Supply Chain". Currently, she and her teams are creating winning solutions as recently recognized by DEVIES 2020 Award for Best Innovation in Blockchain for "Customs Declaration Blockchain".


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