Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Crisis Planning: What to Include

I recently wrote about the importance of “crisis management” (some call it “Business Continuity Planning” or BCP).  Whatever you wish to call it, it’s important to have a framework that staff can understand easily and that allows the business to keep functioning in “Recovery Mode” until “Business as Usual” (BaU) standards and processes re restored.  How long this takes depends on the type of crisis to hit, but no plan will mean your business takes longer to recover 

Crises arise for a number of reasons including (but not limited to):
  • A major supplier failing
  • A major buyer failing
  • Staff being unable to get to work
  • Office premises being inaccessible for some reason (e.g. gas leak, fire, explosion)
  • Inclement weather
  • Flood
  • Unfavourable publicity (e.g. due to employee injury, poor customer reviews)
Many of these aren’t in our control, but what is within our control is how we respond.  A basic example is the problems that the UK railway network used to encounter every autumn with leaves falling on train tracks. The rotting leaves formed a slippery surface which could result in trains derailing or failing to slow down quickly enough.   This resulted in delays for passengers who relied on trains to get to work.

This problem used to occur every year.  The transport companies couldn’t stop leaves from falling, but they could develop plans to deal with them when they did.  

When developing plans, some of the questions to ask are:
  • What do we rely on to do business (e.g.: road/train/air/sea transport, electricity, computer systems, telephone, broadband internet, buyers, suppliers, stable raw material/supply prices, staff who take telephone orders)?
  • How do staff get to work?
  • What systems/equipment/machinery is crucial to our operations?
  • Where do we draw our power/water supply from?
  • What access routes (roads, railways, rivers) lead to our premises?
  • Where is the nearest hospital, police station, fire station?
  • Who are the most important “stakeholders” (e.g. staff, lawyer, banker, accountant, industry regulator)?

Depending on your business, you may need to ask other questions.  

The next step is determining the “real” threats and what is needed to counter or at least mitigate them. You may find you have more than one plan per threat(s) as well!

This will be the subject of another post.

I have spent more than half my life delivering change in different world markets from the most developed to “emerging” economies. With more than 20 years in international financial services around the world running different operations and lending businesses, I started my own Consultancy to provide solutions for improving performance, productivity and risk management.  I work with individuals, small businesses, charities, quoted companies and academic institutions across the world. An international speaker, trainer, author and fund-raiser, I can be contacted by email. My websiteprovides a full picture of my portfolio of services.  For strategic questions that you should be asking yourself, follow me at @wkm610.

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