Companies ought to assess the impact of the current COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic on their processes. To evaluate this properly, an analysis of the business continuity and disaster management and recovery is necessary. This endeavor will help business entities determine whether they can go on with supporting a larger number of remote workforces, access the reliance of their supply chain and gauge short term and long term consequences of the pandemic expertise investments.
With the current business globalizations, the effects of a pandemic could be momentous. To be specific, the direct and indirect impacts on the supply chain could be significant because most of global manufacturing happens in China, where the pandemic started. For that reason having a solid plan for business continuity is important.
Why is the pandemic a threat to business?
As companies act in response to a pandemic – specifically coronavirus, they should be ready for continuing disruption to various business aspects such as availability of products, productivity of workers, supply chain, corporate travel among others. From estimations based in previous pandemics, organizations should be prepared for 25% employee absenteeism at the time of the outbreak.
The last pandemic that was a great threat to the business sector is the swine flu or the H1N1 virus, that was experienced a decade ago. Consequently, businesses have been maintaining their pandemic strategies. They have been testing business continuity matters up to date.
However, a lot has changed in terms of business operations since then. There has been an increase in remote working, rise in software applications, real time manufacturing and standardized production policies. Companies have also become global today in regard to suppliers and partners, vendors, customers and workers. This has made pandemic and continuity plans to become more complex to carry out or test.
Pandemic Plans and Business Continuity
The current pandemic has led to many businesses rushing to review or develop their continuity strategies. Although so much is unknown about the outbreak, there are a number of things that companies can do to make sure that their firms continue to function.
Developing a remote working policy
A comprehensive remote working policy is among the most critical defenses that a business has to prevent spreading disease at the pace of work. All workers should be in position to remotely access necessary working tools including: email and file stores, payroll, unified communications, collaboration tools and HR.
IT experts are taking real time actions in response to user and business requests concerning remote work. To begin with, they need to recognize how user requests differ in a home setting in comparison helping users in the office environment. Business call centers utilize remote work techniques as well to deal with absenteeism issues due to the pandemic
Supply chain risks assessment
Pandemics are known to really wreak havoc on many business aspects, with supply chain being one of them. Problems that occur in this sector include shortages of workforce, delay in shipments and compulsory shutdowns. In extreme cases, some companies end up going out of business permanently.
Supply chain sectors face higher risks when suppliers are concentrated on a single geographic location. Lean production and just-in-time manufacturing are also affected by the same issue. Companies can use supply chain risk assessment tools to come up with an early warning system. The system provides future visibility and warns the business of an incoming havoc.
Revenue streams analysis
It’s important for a business to evaluate if customers still need its products or services in the pandemic period. Current vitality stock markets indicate vulnerability in various sectors. It is expected that online entertainment sectors are impacted positively while the travel industry experiences negative impacts.
A business should understand its transactions, customers and possible demand changes during a pandemic. It’s also crucial to assess if changes occurring are possibly temporary or permanent. Mitigation plans should be in place on how the business should keep running and recover successfully afterwards.
Preparedness for potential impacts on employees
If 25% of employees are absent on a pandemic time, will it still be possible for vital operations of a business to go on with the reduced staff? There should be elaborate plans to help employees who are healthy and working as well as those who are I’ll or quarantined. Safety measures such sanitation fundamentals need to be provided to ensure safety at the workplace.
Any business ought to revisit and revise all human resource policies to see if there are temporary or permanent adjustments to make to meet the demands that come with a pandemic. Employees are one of the valuable assets of a business. They should be given adequate protection from the pandemic and offered necessary assistance if they are affected or infected.
Leadership contingency and authority delegation plans
Authority delegation is an important aspect that a company shouldn’t overlook. Such aspects are like authorizing huge expenditures and making significant or strategic decisions regarding an organization. Inaugurating an anticipated pandemic plan as well as operations of returning to normal as fall under authority perspectives.
In cases where a company’s key leaders are not available for being greatly affected or ill. There should be well spelled out advance plans on how authority should be delegated. This is to make sure that critical operations will not be affected as that can impact on the business continuity.
Until the recent pandemic awakening, businesses hardly made serious plans in regard to pandemics. It has always been one of the items in the checklist of business continuity strategies that most organizations have been passing over with much attention.
Now that the threat has been witnessed, there is no doubt that it is crucial to analyze a business holistically to understand how a pandemic can potentially impact aspects such as supply chain, customers, service demands, employees and revenues of a business. With a thoughtful scenario testing and adequate preparation, you can definitely help your business to survive the havoc. Remember preparation is more helpful than panic.