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Business Continuity Management: Better Planning Leads to Quicker Recovery Times

Industry leaders brace for the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains and operations
by deploying cross-functional crisis management teams

As Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crept around the globe, business leaders in the West were forced to enact pandemic preparedness procedures in the hopes of reducing the impact on our lives and business organizations alike.

In this current environment, crisis management protocols are being put to the test, and as we have observed so far, corporate leadership will have to adapt and overcome – there have been a variety of responses.

From work closures to social isolation, to the use of virtual conference calls and other technology, our industries are forced to find creative ways to keep lines of communication open and operations running when possible – for many, the first phase of preparedness planning involved prioritizing essential vs. nonessential functions.

Another key element of weathering the storm is to stay informed. Status updates from the World Health Organization (WHO), the CDC, and other reputable sources like the John Hopkins’ public health advisory dashboard can help corporate officers stay abreast of news on the event such as severity and local conditions.

It is a good practice to keep employees informed of what leadership knows, and – as much as possible – how these facts are impacting the company’s response and actions to maintain safety. Communication is also critical when it comes to third party suppliers and vendors, as we’ve seen organizations with complex supply chains and multi-site operations are among the most at risk under this latest viral threat; given that their infrastructure is often more complicated, their footprint represents a wider geographic area, and if their Legacy ERP systems are fragmented, they could very easily suffer data inaccuracies that could potentially cripple operations.

BCM planning offers numerous benefits

Once in the midst of an outbreak, such as the Wuhan Flu, leadership must react to the conditions at hand and do their best to guide the organization through the phases of Response, Recovery, and Restoration. It is also advised that leaders think of these phases in terms of time frame: First by minutes and hours, followed by days, weeks, and months.

We recommend this valuable Gartner webinar “Business Continuity Management: Pandemic Planning Briefing”presented by Jim Mello, Sr. Director, Advisory, and Donna Meieros, Sr. Director Analyst, who take a deeper dive into the challenges posed by pandemics and BCM planning that companies can do for future threats.

In summary of their material, the key condition of the COVID-19 event will be staff absenteeism possibly reaching 40% for sequential periods of time.

One cause of these high numbers is the illness directly effecting a percentage of the workforce. But beyond personal health issues, quarantines, travel restrictions, school closures, and sick family members will all serve to compound absenteeism.

First and foremost, keep employees, customers, and vendors safe. Whenever biological disease or pandemic scenarios are a threat, limiting its spread is paramount to stemming further operational risk as well as towards protecting our communities.

Public safety is job one for everyone. In the Gartner presentation there is advice to immediately extend your clean workplace and personal hygiene protocols.

Start an educational effort with staff to get all employees focused on keeping the work environment safe. Make these reminders and updates a part of your corporate communication message strategy.

Since staff and key people may be isolated or working remotely, do not assume everyone has the same access to communication channels and technology at home.

This is an enormous topic of concern right now in the present moment, but it’s also opened our eyes to how planning can always be improved going forward.

With that in mind, we know that accurate data on operations and from all departments across the enterprise is crucial for response, recovery, and restoration activities – and we certainly need business continuity to be part of the conversation.

For now, be safe and prioritize operations, with the emphasis on essential and nonessential functions. At RutterKey, our experts will continue to work remotely and use technology to safely communicate and advance client projects. Please do not hesitate to call or contact us if you have questions or any immediate requirements.