Business establishment in 183 Countries are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. With many companies suffering devastating financial damages. And impacting the economy of their respective countries in the process. Not to mention the extraordinary effects on the employees and consumers. Which are in constant disarray at a level rarely seen in human history. What’s the culprit? Obviously COVID-19. But studies saw something unexpected. And revealed that, these huge mega-firms and conglomerates lack the initiative to look at alternative measures to combat the crisis brought about by the pandemic. And that their stubbornness to do so has resulted in a worldwide supply chain disruption that’s on par with the one that happened 80 years ago. It may seem too late to move away from the status quo of doing things – which is proven to be flawed. But there are still very actionable steps that corporations and industries – big or small – can take that’ll help them with the continuity of their business. As well as prepare for worst-case scenarios that are probable to come.
What Is A Business Continuity Plan?A business continuity plan consists of steps the company has to take in case of a crisis breaking off. It is one of the most critical components of business strategy. It can address even the fundamental concerns – like what to do in case a current leader gets infected with the viruses and possibly, perish too. Generally, the steps that will allow a business to continue running in the middle of natural disasters, process failures, or (in today’s case) a viral outbreak. So, how do you create an effective business continuity plan?
Conduct AssessmentsThe first thing that you should do is to conduct risk assessments. This will help you identify which functions of the business the crisis will significantly impact. Create a hierarchy for each risk you found based on the probability they’ll occur. Make sure that you address high probability risks first since they are the most likely to occur. Whether it will highly impact the business or not, establish plans to void, prevent, minimize or contain the effect in the company. Risks that have a low probability of occurring need no action yet. But make sure you establish a backup plan in case those functions go down too. Once you have conducted the risk assessments, identify which employees can deliver your backup plans. Then, determine how long it will take for them to put the functions back to normal. Determine also what resources they need and make sure to provide them. Knowing these things is crucial in creating a business plan and will significantly impact the effectiveness of the program you’re conducting.
Review Policies and AgreementsOnce you have assessed the risks, time to review your internal employee policies in regards to a crisis. These policies will include:
- Remote work
- Paid or Unpaid Leaves
- Separating employees (in case of an infectious disease outbreak)
Develop StrategiesOnce done with the assessments and reviews, it’s time that you develop your plan. You can create a team for this one so you can get suggestions as to what best processes or systems you can implement. Discuss the following:
- The scope of the plan
- Key business areas
- Critical functions
- How dependent is each business function with each other
- Determine the acceptable downtime for each function
CommunicateA business continuity plan will only be useful if you implement it well. Bad implementation can give bad results as well, so you should explain the guidelines and protocols in a way your employees will understand. Make sure that you create protocols related to the crisis happening like for an outbreak. Follow proper quarantine guidelines for those who came from travel. Or, if there are natural disasters, provide appropriate instructions for safe evacuation.
Ensure your Employees’ Health and SafetyAmid a crisis, you must protect your employee’s health and safety. That’s why you need to make sure that you incorporate policies that discuss your employees’ well-being. Here are some ways to do it:
- Review the federal, state, and local recommendations
- Prepare for a reduced workforce
- Assess possible risks
- Downsized services
- In the case of an outbreak, provide health sanitation (toilet, sanitizer, cleaning supplies, PPE) for your employees
- Develop communication
- Address employees’ needs
- Provide training
Define the capabilities of upstream and downstream supply chainsIt’s best to expect disruption in the supply chains.
- Define the capabilities of upstream supply chains to determine if a supplier is still capable of providing your needs during a crisis. If not, increase your inventory so you can extend operations as well.
- Determine the capabilities of the downstream supply chains and assess how it will impact your customers if operations don’t get back to normal.