RIMS in Japan

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JapanReportImage『Today』は1997年に創刊された、年間6回発行されるリスクマネジメント協会会員向けの雑誌。日本国内のリスクにかかわる情報を中心にテーマを選び専門家の考えや意見を紹介している。リスクマネジメント協会の年次大会での会員の研究発表論文を掲載する特集号『Today (research papers)』も年1回発行している。この特集号では、RIMS理事長の大会での基調講演を掲載している。

“Today” is a bi-monthly magazine for the ARMJ’s members, first published in 1997. It puts articles of risk professionals on risk related issues in Japan. A Special edition, “Today: Research Papers” is issued every year featuring ARMJ annual conference which collects papers of members’ research groups, where RIMS president’s speech is put as a keynote lecture.

In today's environment, many organizations are forced to reassess their risk strategies and consider re-adapting them. 2021 RIMS President Ellen Dunkin reveals the evolution and benefits of enterprise risk management (ERM), and how risk professionals can strengthen resilience and achieve organizational goals.  President Dunkin encourages risk professionals in Japan to show their “indispensability” during her speech at the ARMJ annual conference.

現在の環境の中で、多くの組織はリスク戦略を再評価して、新たに適応させることを考えざるを得ない。RIMS 理事長エレン・ダンキン氏は全社的リスク管理(ERM)の進化とその有利性を明らかにして、どのようにしてリスク専門家がレジリエンス(強靭性・復元力)を強化し、組織目標の達成を支援し、自分たちの「必要不可欠性」を示すかについて解説する。








MAY 2020






It truly is an honor to share these remarks and I want to thank you for allowing RIMS to be a part of your professional development journey.



I also want to thank our RIMS Chapter leaders here in Japan for volunteering their time to coordinate this virtual event.




All of us, no matter the industry, no matter the job title or responsibilities … have felt the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak.



Majority of organizations have been negatively impacted by the virus. It has interrupted their ability to meet customer expectations. And, in some cases, entire industries were rendered helpless with no timetable for recovery.  



Throughout this pandemic, risk professionals and risk management capabilities have been thrust into the forefront. We’ve become essential to organizational resiliency, to recovery efforts but also to the future of the organization. We are supporting new initiatives and new strategies to prepare our organizations for life after the coronavirus.

パンデミックの発生以来、リスク管理担当者 とリスクマネジメント機能は最前線に置かれています。私たちは、企業の回復力や回復に向けた取り組みのみならず、企業の将来にとっても極めて重要な存在になっています。コロナ終息後の世界に対応できるように、私たちは新たな取り組みや戦略を支援しているのです。


Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a crises like this for risk professionals to get the attention of business leaders, to get the resources and support that we need and, ultimately, be invited to join strategic discussions that guide the organization today and into the future.



The opportunity is here. It is up to risk professionals to seize it. 


As RIMS President, I am challenging risk professionals to step outside of their comfort zones.  To challenge norms, and processes that have been in place for far too long and that have failed to evolve.



I am challenging risk professionals to be creative. But, to not just think of solutions that can steer their organizations through the most challenging times but to make sure they are effectively communicating those creative ideas.



How can risk professionals support the organization’s growth, innovation and revenue-generating initiatives? 



This pandemic continues to cause significant turbulence for so many organizations, but it has also presented a huge opportunity for risk professionals to demonstrate their value.



During this time, some organizations have risen to the occasion. They have implemented strategies, quick-thinking and ingenuity to address change.






I preface these strategies by saying, “every situation is different.” Every organization has different processes, different audiences and different goals.



That said, a healthy and available workforce is EVERY organizations most valuable asset.



A pandemic will incapacitate some employees and others will be forced to work from remote locations. This can quickly become a major disruption.



At the onset of COVID-19, many organizations had to quickly scramble to review processes and capabilities to make sure their workforce was equipped to work remotely.



To protect them and help ensure continued productivity, RIMS Risk Management Monitor published this checklist that organizations should run through to support remote working:


  • First, establish a strategy that enables employees to continue to function without endangering them.
  • 最初に、従業員を危険に晒すことなく、機能を維持できる戦略を策定する
  • Have a plan to isolate employees should the threat of possible infection arise.
  • 感染の可能性が生じた場合に備えて、従業員の隔離計画を立てる
  • Verify that you have the tools, technology, capacity, and security measures in place to support a large remote workforce.
  • 従業員の多くがリモートワークになったときに、それを支援するツール、テクノロジー、機能、セキュリティ対策があることを確認する


Old technologies and obsolete tools will put successful execution of even the best plans at risk. The sooner you begin to upgrade your tool set, the sooner you will be able to reduce execution risk.



An organization’s ability to respond to a disruption of its workforce or a critical third-party not only depends on how effective you were in the planning process, but also how effective you were with the tools you have and the training you implemented. The tools you use to communicate, maintain situational awareness, and provide current and accurate information will also have a major impact on your plan.



  • Review your human resource policies to ensure employees will not be personally impacted if they must be quarantined for an extended period. And, modify any policies as necessary to give greater flexibility to normal working arrangements. 
  • 人的資源に関する方針を見直し、従業員が長期間の隔離対象となった場合に、個人的な影響を受けることがないようにする。さらに、必要に応じて方針を変更し、通常の勤務形態に対して柔軟に対応する
  • Determine your priorities and the minimum staffing requirements to support these priorities, in case you need to function with a significantly reduced workforce.
  • 大幅に労働力を減らした上で機能を維持しなければならない場合に備えて、優先事項を決定し、その優先事項を支援する最小限の人員配置要件を決める
  • Identify key employees and ensure other staff members have received appropriate training to cover others’ absence.
  • 重要な従業員を特定するとともに、他の従業員には然るべき研修を実施して、欠勤がでた場合に補えるようにする
  • Create a communications plan that includes providing employees and other stakeholders with regular updates.
  • 従業員を含むステークホルダーに定期的に最新情報を提供するなど、コミュニケーション計画を策定する





If you look at other areas of business that have been greatly impacted by COVID-19, supply chains around the world were definitely tested. And, for risk professionals, understanding your dependence on entities outside your organization is critical.



To protect your operations and ensure continuity, it is important that you:


  1. Map your dependencies to understand where disruptions might impact value chains.
  2. Review the preparedness of your critical third parties. That includes your suppliers, vendors, service providers and others.
  3. Identify single points of failure in your ecosystem.
  1. When assessing the impact of a disruption, can you determine how much time you’ll have before the actual impact occurs?
  2. And, conducting walkthroughs and other stress tests is also good practice.


These measures will help you assess the resilience of your supply chain. Organizations with weak links in their supply chains have several options:



  1. The most obvious is to find new suppliers. This isn’t always the easiest option. Some strategies to efficiently transition suppliers include:


    1. Having Specifications Ready. To initiate the process, new suppliers will want to know the details of your product: how it's made, specifications and composition.


    2. Determine Supplier Capabilities. For example, some suppliers will offer services that include sourcing materials while others only produce the product or part. Added services will come with a price. So the organization must factor price differences into the decision.


    3. Explore Online Suppliers. We shouldn’t be afraid to explore online for suppliers. However, this will take a little more due diligence. 


      While vendors for risk management – like technology solutions – were not as impacted by COVID-19, many are easily searchable online. Risk professionals continue to engage fellow practitioners through RIMS and its online forums to discuss the capabilities and advantages of each solution. The same can be done for the parties within your supply.


      Because the coronavirus outbreak shut down large gatherings around the globe, trade shows and expositions are now holding “virtual” exhibition halls. Another great option to explore new partners.


    4. Go Domestic is another option. For U.S. organizations, using international suppliers can offer greater price advantages.


      However, for companies that were reliant on manufacturing in heavily effected regions, they had to quickly shift gears. Explore turning to domestic manufacturers.



      I would also say to make sure your supply chain is diversified. If only one company or all of your parts are made in one region, you can find yourself in major trouble when a crisis occurs.



    5. Explore Alternative Materials. Different fabrics, materials, ingredients or minerals could be a solution for your supply chain challenges.



      The challenge with this option is the integrity of the product. In some cases, the design might need to be altered.



      For something like a clothing this could be a viable option. That said, for something like food or pharmaceuticals – which adhere to very strict government guidelines – this strategy, most likely, will not work.



    6. Some organizations might have to adjust their manufacturing schedules.  Just-in-time manufacturing allows companies to control and prevent overproduction while maintaining healthy levels of inventory.





So, let’s talk about opportunity.



Around the world, risk continues to have a negative connotation.  We need to change this.  While there is no denying this is a global crisis, savvy risk professionals can demonstrate their value by identifying opportunities for recovery and ways to adapt for the future.



When the Harvard Business Review looked at some of the organizations that recovered quickest in China, it became increasingly easier to see the influence of sound risk management.



As we move into the future and risk professionals will be leaned on to proactively offer counter-measures that mitigate business interruption. These lessons from the article can be integrated into your risk management programs. 



1. For starters, organizations must CONSTANTLY LOOK AHEAD. Not just look ahead but also have the ability and willingness to pivot efforts to compensate for changes.


Pandemics present a different challenge in that each one will have its own timeline and will vary in severity.



Many businesses, especially in retail, that relied on a physical location to serve customers had to shift quickly to online.  Additionally, many of the manufacturers whose goods sold in stores needed to be proactive and, instead, re-route merchandise to online distributors or implement some of the other strategies that were previously mentioned.



But, that is just half of the equation.  The companies that recovered quickest had the foresight and ability to shift their processes back once physical locations re-open.



2. Embrace Bottom-Up Insight
Leadership has a holistic vantage point and will determine how the enterprise approaches uncertainty.



While the overall direction will be set by the organization’s top leaders, operations managers on the front-lines are embedded in the communities. They will have the best understanding of the on-the-ground status of the situation, as well as the community’s needs and preferences.



While guidance from top executives might keep the organization moving forward, slight changes to that guidance might more effectively address the immediate concerns of local stakeholders.



For this to work, communication channels must be set up, giving operations managers a channel to share information. Also, knowing that their feedback is critical and welcomed will not only help the organization through the crisis, it can also improve morale.



3. Continuous, Accessible and Trustworthy Communications
I just spoke about communication up and down the organization. However, in time of crisis, people are inundated with information.  Some of that information will be accurate. And, unfortunately, some will not.  Where to get that information is abundantly important for employees.



We must always incorporate communications into our risk programs. This holds especially true when facing the uncertainties of something like this crisis.



Everything from when employees should work remotely or return to work, to information about corporate strategy, should be delivered in one format.



The better, more accessible and more understandable the communications are, the more productive the organization can be.



4. Labor Flexibility

Some can argue that the restaurant, travel and hospitality industries have been hit the worst from COVID-19. The professionals working in these areas have had their hours significantly reduced and others lost employment.  


So, how do organizations in the most effected sectors keep great employees?


Some companies went as far as loaning their employees.



During this time when many customers were relying on online ordering and delivery, Amazon made it publicly known that they needed more employees to manage increased demands. They were hiring.


Presenting these opportunities and showing that you’re empathetic to employees’ situation is crucially important in a time of crisis.



Another option would be to relocate them to a different department in the organization or, perhaps, utilize them in a completely different way.



GAP Inc., one of the largest clothing brands and manufacturers in the world, saw a decline in clothing sales during the pandemic and, at the same time, knew that it had the opportunity to be part of the solution.


The garment giant, and its thousands of skilled factory employees who had been trained to oversee the production of clothing, quickly shifted and began producing masks for healthcare workers.



Risk professionals must be in-sync with human resources to ensure employees’ contracts are valid and that, if the company were to change an individual’s job responsibilities, that each employee was properly trained and, also, that safety measures were in place to protect them.



There is a huge risk of losing talent. How do we do the best for our employees, keep them engaged and show that we care?



5. Shift Your Sales Channel

How quickly can your organization switch its sales channel?




If you’re an organization that mainly sells in stores, how can you quickly pivot?



One beauty store with locations in some of the most affected areas in China, redeployed in-store beauty advisors as online influencers. Provided with the tools and proper instruction, this group engaged customers virtually and drove online sales.



Employee education programs are not foreign to risk management professionals.  Safety and compliance training is a big part of many of our responsibilities.



Here we have an opportunity to take a component of our existing risk program and adapt it for the current the situation.



6. Use Social Media

In the previous example, the company used social media to become an influencer. And it was highly-effective. 




Throughout the pandemic, RIMS continues to mobilize its social media channels, really positioning the Society as an essential resource for the global risk management community.



RIMS COVID-19 Resource Center continues to be filled with risk management insight for risk professionals to steer their organizations through this challenge. 

RIMS COVID-19 リソースセンターでは、この難局を乗り切るために組織の舵取りをしているリスク管理担当者のために、リスクマネジメントに関する知見を豊富に用意しています。


But, having a resource center isn’t enough. Social media allowed us to communicate and share with our network, positioning ourselves as a leader.



Information is also promoted on the Society’s peer-to-peer online forum, OPIS. This has given risk professionals a chance to speak directly with others, when face-to-face meetings were prohibited.



7. Be Optimistic and Prepare For It

Just like you prepare for negative changes, what if things get better quickly. Are you prepared to revert back?




The challenge with a global pandemic is that as fast as it infects entire communities, cities and countries, the outbreak can dissipate quickly.  Each new virus is impossible to forecast.



We always talk about being proactive but when managing a crisis it is even more crucial that plans are developed far in advance.  The most challenging thing for organizations to work on during a crisis, is their crisis plan.



In the U.S. many auto companies are offering deals on new cars, with much longer loan periods and with far less money due upfront. Mortgage companies are allowing homeowners to defer payments. The airline industry is letting passengers rebook trips for a later date, with no penalties. 


Before these incentives are passed along to the consumer, risk management must be involved to help determine if the programs are viable, if the company has the infrastructure to accommodate them and if it makes financial sense.


The reason for these new incentives is to keep customers satisfied, to create an emotional tie to the brand and to show they understand the struggles they are experiencing.



Customers go through the process of shopping around and selecting your product or services, the organization must do what it can to keep them.



8. Not Everyone Recovers At the Same Speed

While risk professionals can play an important role in the organizations’ recovery efforts, it’s important to note that not every sector will recover at the same speed. Departments will recover differently as well.




Industries like technology and healthcare are primed to not only recover from the pandemic but will have the opportunity to advance and generate even greater returns.



On the other side, cruise lines’ reputation took yet another hit. Cruises are presenting a real health dilemma and it will take much longer for them to recover – if they can.



Banks are another example.  Local community branches will take significantly longer to rebound compared to their online or tele-services departments.



As risk professionals, it’s important to identify and inform others about these potential variances. And, when possible, provide guidance as the organization returns to normalcy.



9. Adapt Geographically

This next point can be considered Part B to the previous.




Not only will industries and departments recover at different rates, geography will also impact recovery.  



Population density will contribute to this, as will government regulation and intervention.



Some countries enforced strict penalties for disobeying curfews and stay-at-home mandates. Whereas, in the U.S. a mandate of “social distancing” – a term that is confusing and not well-defined saw individuals interpret it many different ways, thus prolonging the recovery time.



With this in mind, plan accordingly.  There is a good chance that factories and facilities in remote locations will recover quicker than those in the center of a major city. 



10. Anticipate New Habits

Global pandemics can and will change habits. For example, handshaking has long been an accepted greeting in many business cultures. Are we still shaking hands post COVID-19?




Post-crisis or following a world-changing event like the one we’re experiencing will effect consumer habits. Organizations should expect this and be proactive about it.



A great example, is online grocery shopping. While it existed prior to this recent pandemic, this event has forced many of us to use the big retail grocers’ mobile apps, to get comfortable with the technology and experience the ordering, pick-up and delivery processes. We got a glimpse of the convenience it offers. Will this become a new way of life? 


How can grocers prepare?  Are they equipped digitally?  Do they have the delivery capabilities and personnel in place to meet new demands?



Another habit is remote working. After months of having employees work from home, will companies reconsider owning or renting physical office space?  Perhaps, a physical location in a major city isn’t needed. Or, maybe the organization can manage with a smaller space.



While it’s early to say what habits will become part of our new way of living, there is a real opportunity for organizations that are prepared to anticipate.





It’s important to remind others that risk is not necessarily a negative. 


Organizations must take this opportunity to assess its products and services and adjust to the current or new environment.  How can your company serve individuals who are confined to their homes?  Is there a digital opportunity to share your brand or expertise?



Online continuing education programs are a great example of this.



Thousands of universities that were forced to cancel the final semester were able to provide students with access to teachers and course materials online. While cancellation could have required a refund of tuition, this pivot enabled them to deliver on their promise.



Innovating around these new needs can be the difference-maker that allows your organization to regain market-share once the situation stabilizes.



For risk professionals, opportunities and new initiatives do not come without risk.  However, it is not enough for us to only highlight what can go awry. Instead, we must add solutions that reduce potential exposures and support initiatives. Here is where risk professionals can truly show their value. And, by providing that type of guidance, there is a good chance you will be invited back to future strategic discussions.



It is truly is an exciting time to work in the risk management profession.




While there is a lot of uncertainty out there that our organizations must address, there is so much opportunity for us.



We have the opportunity to position risk management as an indispensable and essential business function that ALL businesses must support and embrace for future success.



I applaud you for taking the first-step and joining RIMS risk management community here in Japan. I encourage you to challenge yourselves, to contribute and share your experiences so that we may advance this profession together.



Wishing you all safety and good health.  Thank you.