The resilience of the manufacturing industry can be enhanced, Part 1: Resilience analysis

Blog post
Ismo Ruohomäki

We have become familiar with the word resilience and different approaches to it over the recent months. Resilience, or the adaptability to change, can be examined from the perspective of humans, organisations, society or ecosystems. In recent months, VTT has been examining resilience from the perspective of the operation and growth of the manufacturing industry with the funding from the recovery package of the Minister of Economic Affairs and Employment. The aim has been to find solutions to how companies and entire value chains could operate more systematically on resilience issues, prepare better for unexpected situations, and reduce vulnerabilities both in their own activities and in entire supply networks. In addition, efforts have been made to identify interesting new business opportunities related to exceptional situations, as well as situations where manufacturing could be returned to Finland.

Reasons to prepare for exceptional situations

In Finland, there are numerous reasons why we should prepare for exceptional situations. One of the biggest reasons is the increasing rate at which global unexceptional situations are emerging due to climate change and the extreme phenomena associated with it, pandemics and other potential causes. In Finland, the large share of foreign procurement, and the extent, diversity and dependencies of value chains and their dependencies increase the risk of exposure to disruptions and their consequences. Even in the future, the success of the Finnish manufacturing industry will largely depend on the reliability, agility and accuracy of the deliveries of materials, components, intermediate products and end products, without forgetting the undisrupted access to spare parts and diverse lifecycle services.  Compared to its competitors, long distances perhaps make the Finnish manufacturing industry more vulnerable to sudden external disturbances with all the relevant consequences.

Resilience analysis

VTT has been promoting resilience in cooperation with the industry. It has developed tools for supporting companies, introduced such tools and coached VTT agents working in the field to take the matter forward to the industry. One of the tools developed is the resilience analysis tool, aimed at facilitating the identification of company-specific vulnerability risks and development targets. VTT has been testing the tool with companies in Teams meetings of about 1½ hours,  in which the company's situation is reviewed using the tool, serving as the basis of analysis, and a list of questions with an aim to identify the points in need of development in collaboration with the company's management. As a result of the expert analysis, the company receives a performance report and a list of identified development targets. VTT has been testing the tool with companies and, as a result, identified development targets that clarify the company's situational picture. Based on the feedback received, the companies have found the resilience analysis a useful and important tool in preparing for exceptional situations, as it facilitates the identification of company-specific vulnerability risks and development targets.

Read the 2. part of the blog post focusing on the situational picture generated and key development targets identified using the resilience analysis tool!

Ismo Ruohomäki
Ismo Ruohomäki