The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a few new ways to think about business continuity planning.
The traditional model for BCP was more or less relegated to the backbench because of the current situation facing the world.
Some adjustments seemed glaringly obvious. However, many organisations were caught off-guard.
Other adjustments included subtle preparations that saved some organisations the costs and expenses as they tried to adjust to the COVID pandemic.
Our list will start with the obvious and go on from there. Our aim is to help businesses develop their toolkit for business continuity planning. This will help with operational readiness in the face of unexpected disruption.
Prioritise digital transformation → The starkest thing to emerge from this pandemic.
The ultimate advice on how to achieve better agility, resilience, and business continuity is to accelerate the process of digital transformation.
Businesses that seem to be thriving during these absurd times are industry giants like Amazon and Netflix. At the core, their operations have been successfully transforming the way we consume goods and services.
For example, traditional restaurants that offer dine-in arrangements did not fare very well. On the other hand, many pizza places and restaurants connected to digital ecosystems of food delivery like JustEat and UberEats were well-positioned to continue their business activity.
Supply chain protection. → Moving production closer to the consumer.
One of the most widely discussed predictions for the “new normal”, when the crisis recedes, is that production may need to move physically closer to the end consumer.
This consideration will be all too important if there was a second wave of this pandemic.
A different sort of global crisis may potentially cause further supply chain disruption or outright stoppage. Especially because of the potential for geopolitical tensions to arise in the aftermath of the current crisis.
Alternative site(s) of operations → Equipment and training.
Most BC plans have provisions for continuing operations at alternative sites. Although, never before has a majority of the workforce been required to work from home.
Many businesses that were committed to digital transformation had a smooth change over to working from home.
Working out a business continuity plan in the wake of the current situation was expensive for some companies. There were costs for equipment, training, and other adjustments necessary to work from home.
For the sake of future scaping, businesses will need to have staff equipped and trained to work from multiple home sites.
Staff will probably need the training to face the challenges of managing sensitive information at home or managing their space, environment, and other resources they may suddenly have to share.
Automation → Automated production may become necessary.
Even if supply chains were physically relocated closer to the consumer, there are new dynamics to consider.
With workers being asked to stay home, the current pandemic shows that simply having production closer to the consumer may not guarantee business continuity.
Many companies will inevitably need to accelerate plans to automate future production. AI & robotics may come into its own in a business capacity to execute business continuity plans.
Pivoting & repurposing → Business’ assets be repurposed for new operations.
Several companies repurposed themselves to assist with pandemic relief.
These companies gained new business and quickly brought in revenue because of their ability to pivot and repurpose their assets.
It is very beneficial for an organisation to be able to rapidly or radically reimagine its offerings and business processes.
This step is something that may only be possible after surveying the effects of the current disruption. However, it behooves the organisation to train a team for such rapid reimaginations with test scenarios to boost the chances of quick responses to real disruptions.
Financial resilience → RE’s R important for survival when revenue is reduced.
Unfortunately, many businesses around the world may never open their doors again as a result of the current pandemic.
Many were on the verge of turning profitable. Now they may have to dig themselves out of a hole again.
Those who get the opportunity to return must surely understand that they cannot return to status quo.
Businesses must seek to reduce costs and increase their retained earnings to help face periods like these where revenue is heavily impacted.
However, organisations would be remiss if they only sought to build financial resilience into their business continuity planning.
Agility & crisis response time → Testing & training in these areas is vital.
Even if most of the steps above have been followed, they will still need to be tested over and over again to improve a business’s response times.
The strengthening of these pathways will aid decisiveness and help reduce any downtime when facing actual situations.
To be truly agile, businesses must have tested business continuity plans for corporate, functional, premises, and account levels.
The BCP must take into account all types of crisis and disasters. The current pandemic is health-related but other types of disruptions like war, famine, natural disasters, and political uprisings cannot be ignored.
To learn more about how Torry Harris can help you reduce costs and automate more in the current COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, follow our upcoming blog series on business continuity plans.
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