Panel Paper: Recovery of Manufacturing Sectors in Puerto Rico Post-Hurricane Maria: Assessing Disruption to Socio-Technical Systems

Thursday, November 8, 2018
8228 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jennifer Helgeson and Jose Colcusi-Rios, National Institute for Standards and Technology

This paper explores recovery & resilience in sociotechnical systems associated with Puerto Rico’s manufacturing sectors post-Hurricane Maria. The NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) center in Puerto Rico (PRiMEX) conducted surveys of 300+ small- & medium-sized manufacturers in the 18 weeks following Hurricane Maria. A business interruption case study immediately post-Hurricane is unique; the methodology & findings are presented in the context of an island region where supply chain resilience is vital. Data collected relates to operational (e.g., electricity loss) & infrastructure damage that led to sales & payroll losses in 20 manufacturing sectors.

Understanding losses caused by supply chain and business continuity interruptions, are key to loss avoidance estimates that can guide a region’s future resilience planning. Social technical system weaknesses post-disaster can trickle down to intensify indirect & sustained effects, such as business interruption or closure, which have a significant effect on the short- & long-term stability of a regional economy. Case study findings will inform the second phase of PRiMEX surveying, spanning 1000 manufacturers, to develop a disaster preparedness strategy. Additionally, MEP centers in southeastern states impacted by Hurricanes Irma & Harvey (e.g., Texas, Louisiana, Florida, & Georgia) are developing similar approaches to improve resilience planning.