Many business executives claim that there was no way to prepare for an event like Covid-19. However, the most affected companies had one problem in common; insufficient continuity management. Learn from the most common mistakes that these businesses made.
The pandemic revealed that most companies’ readiness for unexpected situations went no further than recovery plans after the failure of equipment or external supply. Recovery plans only offer limited options. Plans like this only respond to partial problems, not complex changes in the environment. Organizations lacked basic business impact analysis and prioritization using that risk analysis.
First, you should find the processes that can be limited temporarily and processes that need to be maintained to keep the company running. Identify the weak points of essential processes, and prepare a continuity plan, and a recovery plan.
All Companies Need To Prepare For Unexpected Situations
A lot of companies sent their employers to work from home during the worst of the pandemic, but didn’t have laptops or tools to stay in contact available for them. These organizations didn’t manage the risks associated with an interruption of business activities at all or completely inadequately.
All industries, from the health sector and restaurants to state administration and the automotive industry, underwent moments of crisis. Operations can be disrupted by natural disasters, epidemics, cyber-attacks, or just a mishandled advertising campaign. Every company needs to assess risks and prepare responses to them, whether it’s planning for downtime due to natural disasters or having an epidemic plan in place using information from an expert research organization.
Find Out Which Processes You Must Keep, and Which You Can Do Without
A lot of companies only had continuity and recovery plans in place for information systems and manufacturing technology. They completely disregarded a possible lack of employees able to work in production, or the inability to use offices. Even in normal times, workers could be struck down by illness and offices could be put out of operation by floods or fires.
You can’t control all processes. Focus on protecting the most important ones, which include any that add value to your customers or are essential for your organization’s operation, such as production or communication tools.
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Do A Thorough Risk Analysis
Many companies have forgotten that a low probability of something happening doesn’t mean it is a low risk. A low probability with a big impact is a huge risk.
Identify the resources your most important processes depend on. Remember that not only materials and finances are important, but also human resources. Think of all the situations that could arise. Covid-19 has taught us that we need to consider the long-term absence of half a workforce.
Recovery Plans Are Not Enough. Prepare Continuity Plans
During the Covid-19 pandemic, companies needed to be able to quickly increase the capacity of their call centers, but a lot of them were not able to do so. Their processes had only been set up for a number of served customers and orders. They did not have any plans, reserves, trained staff, laptops, or communication plans in place.
A solid continuity plan should address system failures, and also the need to increase performance in the short term. When are you aware of your vulnerabilities, you can start planning. Define what procedures you will use to secure alternate supplies. Train employees in other positions so they can fill in where they are needed, such as in the call center.
During Covid, even if organizations were able to restructure and increase the capacity of their call centers, customers didn’t find out about it as there was no communication plan in place. Think about communication both outwards to customers and inwards so that employees themselves can inform customers about changes.
Update Plans At Least Once A Year
In some companies, some technologies were controlled by a single person. Companies have streamlined their processes and reduced their headcount but failed to assess their risks. They rely on strategies that are ten years old and cannot be used because of changes to the organization.
If the external situation is stable and your company is not changing internally, it is enough to just revise your continuity plans once every two or three years. However, your initial risk analysis should be reviewed at least every year or after any major change in the organization. If the risks have stayed the same, you don’t need to update your plan. Changes in risks will mean you need to rewrite the whole plan.