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Executive Matters: Seeing Past the COVID-19 Crisis with a Critical Processes Framework

Experts advise asking functional leaders to reassess 2020 forecasts and keeping key strategy initiatives in the pipeline among  steps towards successful restoration

When natural disasters or pandemics strike, the situation calls for an immediate response phase, which we outline in a previous article. Making sure the workforce is safe is priority number one – effective communication and keeping essential operations online are also critical areas of concern.

Once we begin entering the phases of recovery followed by restoration, the main benefits of business continuity management (BCM) can be realized. The value of future pandemic planning, includes:

  • Minimizing the impact on staff & supply chain
  • Minimizing the impact on service delivery & IT infrastructure
  • Protecting the corporate reputation
  • Reducing the long-term financial impact
  • Returning to a new normality sooner
Source: FEMA.gov

Prepare for future business disruptions

Whether you have a BCM plan in place or not, organizations of all sizes are going to learn a lot from crisis management in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

After life returns to normal, gather your best minds and functional leaders from across the entire corporate enterprise – use their experiences to create a framework spreadsheet to identify all critical processes and estimates for time to recovery.

Document all taskforce recommendations and begin to restructure a BCM strategy to address future disruptive events.

Next, it is recommended you assemble a cross-functional crisis management team. A preferred structure is to name a BCM / Crisis Manager point person who reports directly to executive leadership. From here, you will want to identify crisis preparedness representatives from each department who report to the business continuity manager.

Reps from HR, legal, finance & treasury, emergency health & medical safety, operations, and external liaisons should all contribute intelligence to fully track a disruptive event. Be sure to cover all the bases. You can always reduce the committee’s headcount, but in the early stages, remember there are a lot of roles that contribute to your operational workflow. Details and contributions from sales, supply chain managers, procurement, customer relationship management, public relations, and regulatory compliance can all make a difference when it comes to workflow management.

Set priorities and avoid mistakes

Beyond having functional leadership adjust business forecasts, the BCM researchers and experts at Gartner highlight other corporate priorities that should be considered as best practices in crisis management scenarios. In their free webinar “Pandemic Preparedness Requires Strong Business Continuity Management,” presenters Roberta Witty, VP Analyst, and David Gregory, Sr. Director Analyst offer research findings that suggest:

  • Increasing liquidity and financial backstops
  • Implementing and enforcing employee hygiene awareness programs
  • Assessing third party vendors and contractors for their resilience to high absenteeism and supply chain disruption
  • Establishing a plan for tackling a production backlog once things return to normal

The researchers also specifically note avoiding actions that could be detrimental to long-term planning strategies.

Examples of these potential threats with lasting implications include: Short term overreactions by certain functional leaders; difficulties with working capital availability; and damages to the organization’s reputation based on misinformation of situational responses.

When disruptive events impact so many areas at once – a solid communication strategy is imperative to navigating through the crisis.

Interestingly, the experts agree companies should also avoid disruptions to the implementation of key strategies and priority enterprise initiatives. These projects have been established to prepare the organization for the future. They may need to be paused in the immediate minutes, hours, and days following the event. But to scrap them entirely could derail future outcomes.

At RutterKey, we take this sentiment to apply directly to ERP system implementations and upgrades. We believe IFS offers the assurance our clients require to survive future economic storms.

Stay strong and stay the course – RutterKey is here for you.

Because of Restful-API architecture, IFS Apps are flexible and resilient – it represents ERP functionality built to evolve and adapt. In a time of crisis, information is a business lifeline. For our friends, colleagues, and clients with large multi-site operations and complex multi-national supply chains, the risks can be profound.

Once things settle in the world and in the global economy, let’s resume this conversation about the crucial role IFS Applications™ can play in BCM. Bringing all legacy systems under one platform can help ensure lines of communications stay open. Creating custom IFS Lobbies and user dashboards to display real time metrics could help improve response and recovery times.

If you have questions, the RutterKey team is remote telecommuting for work during normal business hours and beyond – Email or call to connect with a solution architect when the time is right.

Be well and God bless.