While Covid-19 has many people working from home, many companies have sent part or even all of their employees back to the office or other facility. Demonstrating return on investment is one of the main barriers to launching a new or more robust Business Continuity Plan (BCP) project. Many organizations have difficulty justifying the expense of building a BCP and funding its maintenance over time. A healthy organization that has successfully navigated changes wrought by the coronavirus may focus on the possibility of a zero ROI. If an organization is able to dodge the proverbial bullet, it’s true that the project may never yield much return. However, even in the case of extreme luck, there are three distinct ways that a BCP helps you with non-emergency operations in your organization. As the world continues to adapt to the global pandemic, it’s worth your while to bring up these benefits when discussing your program and funding with senior management.
1 – Holiday BCP
With the holiday season upon us, business closures can be a difficult puzzle to solve. Whether in the manufacturing or service sector, it can be tough to determine how to shutdown and restart the business. Add in the need to share these impacts both inside and outside of the organization and this task can seem enormous. Thankfully, a solid BCP will give you the information you need to make this happen. The BCP tells you which critical processes need the most attention. It includes instructions for internal and external communications. It also lists all critical vendors, suppliers and customers that may need special attention. The BCP acts as a manual of steps for a short-term holiday closure. The New Year will ring in the return to operations-as-usual.
One important item to note is that using the BCP in such closures serves as a plan exercise. This will help identify any pitfalls in the plan and inform the next iteration. Exercises ensure your plan becomes an even more robust and useful resource.
2 – Replacing Critical Equipment
Fact: Your organization relies on some form of critical equipment. It could be an aspect of your computer system, a piece of manufacturing equipment, or something as simple as the desk in a high traffic reception area. Like all things, change is inevitable. This means that equipment you rely on will eventually be replaced. Fortunately, your BCP can inform how you develop a work-around during the equipment replacement. If required, it will also assist in determining how to manage during down time.
Schedule adjustments, outsourcing, and extra shifts can help maintain operations during a change. These strategies may also help you return to normal operations afterward. During an office interruption, a business process may need to be temporarily “housed” somewhere else. To determine where to move a process, it can be helpful to consult alternate work arrangements outlined in your plan. For example, a busy reception area should not relocate near a legal team that makes important and confidential phone calls. Customer service may need a quiet space for their call center. Also, floor plans and emergency procedures will identify an alternate entrance to use if the main one is out of order.
3 – Public Relations and Community Messages
A third use of the BCP in non-emergency operations is its use for all Public Relations. A solid plan designates who should address the public, and outlines how everyone in the organization ought to respond to media questions. Examples of PR engagements include community involvement and outreach, engagements with public stakeholders, or even a response to economic condition changes. Determining when and how to make an announcement and preparing staff for any media response is crucial for success. All organizations have cause to engage with the community around them, so it is important that it is carefully considered and deliberately executed. It can also serve to build rapport with the media resources you may rely on during an incident threatening your business’ continuity.
As you may know, building a solid BCP requires that each business unit assess their processes and procedures and identify their critical resources. It also reveals dependencies between departments, and can unearth inefficiencies. Preparing a plan requires determining exactly how these business units must work together to coordinate their priorities and return to the common goal of normal business operations. This planning is essential to successfully manage and then recover from a threat to the business. It is also incredibly useful in informing business operations during non-emergency events, as we’ve just outlined. Your Business Continuity Plan is often overlooked for it’s utility in planning for interruptions occurring as a result of normal operations.
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