Do You Have a Business Continuity Plan?
It doesn’t take a major earthquake to create a catastrophe in your business. The start of 2009 saw over 5,000 schools close down in the UK because of snow. The effect on your business can be missed deadlines, missed deliveries and ultimately missed profits.
Here risk management expert Paul Cook gives us a quick and simple guide to creating your own Business Continuity Plan.
R – Risk Programme
Firstly you need to create a Risk programme to analyse potential hazards and review how well you are protected against them. This will vary dependent upon individual circumstances but basic questions will include; what do you have at risk and what is its value? What can you do ahead of time to mitigate any potential loss?
E – Emergency Response
You have to deal with that unknown emergency striking at any time. You need a routine to respond to each of the scenarios (e.g. fire, terrorism, extreme weather). Having a plan will reduce the impact of the cause and its subsequent interruptions.
An emergency plan organises the communication, directs the timing of critical activities and focuses efforts to immediate actions.
B – Building
Building/restoration needs to be happening at the same time as Recovery (below) to reduce the overall period of interruption. Your office/premises and equipment need to be repaired as quickly as possible. A pre-determined and prioritised list of suppliers will help you here. Some suppliers may have been affected also and they may not be in a position to fulfill your order, so keep in mind alternatives.
O – Opportunity through Recovery
You can create opportunity (by getting back into business quicker than your competitors) at the recovery stage. Recovery planning needs to encompass the entire business and strategies of recovery have to be developed for each critical business function.
The number 1 priority is having a place(s) to carry out critical business functions. Then you need to equip the place(s) with all the tools to do the job – telephones, computers, key documents, client and supplier information.
Some businesses such as venues may have no alternative other than waiting for their venue to be repaired and in this case it is essential that they have given much consideration to the R- Risk Programme analysis as possible to reduce the impact of the disaster as far as possible.
R – Rehearsing of the Plan
Rehearsal of the plan is crucial to ensure that it really works. Your test could be anything from a table top exercise to a live production run. You can use the test under these controlled conditions to set expectations and allow people to practice working together in unusual circumstances.
N – Never Assume People Know what do Next
Communication of the planning objectives and processes is key to success. Keep employees familiar with them through training and updates as necessary to deal with changing economic/political conditions.