Revisiting “COVID-19 and your response”
This post was originally published March 2, 2020. As we look back on the early days of COVID-19 in the U.S., it is apparent that, while the science has evolved, the principles around a solid pandemic response are still valid. If you take only one thing from this post, let it be this:
Most do not realize that if they have been planning for ‘the big 4 results’ of any business interruption: no building, no people, no systems and no third-party suppliers, along with following the direction of health authorities, they likely have everything they need.
You can’t get very far these days without hearing about how the COVID-19 virus or ‘coronavirus’ is having devastating impacts in some countries and causing significant supply-chain issues in others.
Many people are now scrambling, looking for a specific pandemic plan that they can put in place should COVID-19 impact their company. Most do not realize that if they have been planning for ‘the big 4 results’ of any business interruption: no building, no people, no systems and no third-party suppliers, along with following the direction of health authorities, they likely have everything they need.
If you’re worried about COVID-19 striking your business directly, you need to be prepared for a ‘no people’ scenario and if Supply Chain is your concern then ‘no third-party suppliers’ may be where you need to focus your energy.
10 questions to preparedness
Here are 10 questions you should be asking yourself about your Business Continuity Plan (BCP) to ensure you’re prepared for COVID-19. Note that they are all just part of good business continuity planning for any business interruption.
1 – Do we have a way to monitor attendance?
You don’t know if you’re having an issue with loss of critical workforce unless you have a way of monitoring workforce losses. Whether it’s COVID-19 or a hurricane preventing people from reporting to work, you need ensure you have a way of knowing who’s available and who’s not.
2 – Are our corporate priorities clear and well-communicated?
Recovery priorities should be super clear and well-known within the organization. If you’re short-staffed or short on raw materials, everyone should know where those resources need to be directed.
3 – Is our internal communications plan solid and do we have current contact information for all personnel so that everyone can stay informed on the status of operations?
If you’re in an industry where priorities are subject to frequent changes, internal communications will be critical to ensure everyone is informed of what those priorities are and who is available to help address them.
4 – Is sufficient cross-training in place?
Look particularly to areas where there may have been some recent staff turnover. Has the necessary cross-training taken place to ensure the most critical functions can be performed by multiple people?
5 – Is procedural documentation up to date?
If someone is placed in an unfamiliar position, ensure they have the documentation they need to get the job done.
6 – Is delegation of authority clearly spelled out?
If manager A is not available, be sure it’s documented who will take over.
7 – Do we have enough people authorized to do each of the critical functions within your organization or do we need to deputize some extras to ensure we are covered?
This becomes especially important 18 months in as many industries still suffer from layoffs early in the pandemic.
8 – Is everyone who can work from home still able to do so? Have they logged into their VPN recently? Do they need to be reminded to take their laptops home? Do we need to grant remote access to anyone else?
While in some ways, this might be one to take off the list – after all, many employees worked exclusively from home for over a year so remote work procedures have largely been embedded in many workforce’s, it raises the question of policy: who is allowed to work from home (still), who is not, and under what circumstances does that change?
9 – Are there other locations where our manufacturing activities can occur given our planned production schedule? Can we outsource should we need?
We still face outages and shortages. Some are infrastructure-related (power outages from Ida, February’s freeze in Texas, etc.) Some are specifically supply chain issues, like the chip shortage. Know where you can outsource if you can’t get the raw materials you need to produce a product.
10 – Is our external communications plan solid? Can we communicate easily with our customer and supplier base? Is our current AND alternate supplier contact information up to date? Is our media strategy ready to go?
Too often, we still hear “we’ll deal with specific events when and if they occur.” This is almost always the reason for a media FAIL.
Focus your COVID-19 response on these pillars of sensible planning
By ensuring you have a solid BCP in place that covers no building, no people, no systems and no third-party suppliers, and following specific health directives for whatever the outbreak might be, you’ve got your pandemic plan in place.
KingsBridgeBCP offers businesses of all sizes BCP Software Solutions and industry know how based on best practices. From a FREE Edition to a Platinum Edition there is a Shield for everyone. Our software packages meet the wide range of our customers’ needs, ensuring we deliver the best value in every project. To learn more about KingsBridge click here.