Location Risk Monitoring

Bangkok Blast: How to Interpret Geo-Political Risks in Thailand

Written by Lakshmi Nair

Over the past few years, Bangkok has proven itself to be a world-class outsourcing destination. It has achieved international reputation with respect to the BPO and IT sectors as the center of excellence to conduct software outsourcing that is class apart. Thai software industry today comprises of over 1,900 companies, employing close to 100,000 people, attaining an ever increasing sales growth. Thailand offers good quality, low-cost labor pool and a strong infrastructure; its financial attractiveness and business environment are strong. Despite its strong hold in the outsourcing market, Bangkok has faced several setbacks in the past several months.

Last week, our Supply Wisdom Alerts reported on the consecutive blasts at the Erawan Shrine, a popular tourist spot in Bangkok, which killed 27 people and injured close to 150 others.  An advisory was issued to our clients with operations in the region to exercise extreme caution. Thai police consecutively released information stating that several other bombs were seized from the vicinity. This incident was preceded by two other similar events; the February 2015 blast where two bombs exploded near a shopping mall and the April 2015 episode where a car bomb exploded injuring 7. These violent incidences have prompted 27 nations to issue travel advisories on traveling to Thailand, ranging from a Level 2 (urging citizens to take extra care while traveling to Bangkok) to a Level 4 (advising citizens to avoid non-essential travel to the region).

Although these tragic attacks send alarming waves throughout the nation, it is highly unlikely that they would bear any significant negative impacts on business or operations in the region. There are a number of proactive measures that can be taken when an event of this sort occurs and travel to the region cannot be avoided due to business operations.

Considering the attack was targeted at tourists and foreigners, some countries, such as the US, UK, Australia and Canada, advised their citizens to enlist themselves in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program or STEP, so that their presence is known to the respective embassies. Travelers are advised to maintain a low profile and expect heightened security at airports and all transport terminals including bus stations. Following social media and local news is a good way to stay informed about any developments.

Businesses operating in Bangkok should divest in a security service to protect offices in such high-risk locations, as an incident of this kind can occur unannounced. Therefore, it is always good to have back up measures. People entering your office premises in pretext of employees or even mailmen, maintenance employees, etc. should have sufficient and verifiable IDs to avoid malefactors from entering your campus.

Even though no location is entirely free of risks and threats, not every risk or threat matters to a particular business. What matters is staying current on your global location’s risk profile, and how those risks could impact on your operations.

A successful global company would identify the positive prospects that are most important to its business and strategic objectives, such as availability of labor, talent pool, and cost metrics, and balance it with the possibility of certain risks that are a part of every major city in the world.

Mitigating all these risk factors and having an effective risk management program will contribute to the success of your operations in that location.     

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