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Risk Intolerance

Today, in the midst of the widely heralded ‘credit crunch’, we are witnessing how changes to a global marketplace and business models have made an impact on the financial sector. In this field, an incident in one country is now rippling its way across the globe with the strength to damage and, in some cases, topple large organisations.

The question is how this could happen and who really understood the risks? If you look closely, the changing dynamics of the pharmaceutical world also face some of the same basic issues. For all the sophistication and slick operational performance at the heart of global success, the need for any commercial enterprise – including a major pharmaceutical company – to regularly identify and consider at each stage the possibility of what could go wrong has not diminished. If anything, it has increased, whether it is a ‘big bang’ or something far more insidious and systemic, because for every benefit globalisation offers there are potential pitfalls that a company ignores at its peril.

RISK APPETITE

All companies take risks – it’s a natural part of succeeding in a competitive business environment. In the pharmaceutical business, as in many others, it’s part of the art of commercial success to calculate a risk – the likelihood, the need to take it, the consequences if the risk becomes the reality – and to plan your business moves accordingly, whilst almost certainly incorporating a healthy dose of risk prevention. That’s the theory, at least; and when operating in a globalised economy that has high potential for risk at just about every step, it should also be the practice.


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After graduating from Lancaster University with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical and Electronic Engineering, Tom Roche began his engineering career in the steel and water industries, working on industrial automation. Tom joined FM Global in 1993, and has since worked within the loss prevention engineering team, collaborating with local and international clients on many of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.
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