According to Steven,president of First-rate mold solution comany ,the following are the most important steps to take when developing and implementing a business continuity plan. But before beginning the planning process, consider identifying a primary “go-to” person to lead the effort, advised by a team of cross-functional managers that represent the business as a whole.
The business continuity planning lead doesn’t have to be a full time assignment, but this individual needs a number of key skills and experiences to be successful, namely organizational and team-building skills, knowledge of the business and a process-oriented mindset. Communications skills are critically important given the need to “sell” management on the right solution and get response and recovery strategies down on paper.
1. Understand customer expectations and their flexibility to address periods of time when your products and services would be unavailable. Review contracts and understand your customer’s use of your product. Find out if your customer has safety stock to address periods of disruption. Lastly, perform your own assessment of business criticality and identify your most critical products and services that require protection and recovery planning.
2. Take inventory of what it takes to deliver your critical products and services and how you might resume production/delivery using alternate resources and processes. For example, what are the facilities, equipment, raw materials, suppliers, employee skills, information technology systems and information necessary to manufacture and deliver product to your customer?
If any of this was lost, could you—in a pragmatic manner—replace it in a way that meets “most” of your customers’ expectations and preserves your reputation? Who could assist your organization and what can you do now to prepare to resume operations if your primary resources were unavailable for a period of time? These are the questions to ask yourself before a disruptive event impacts your business.
3. dentify your single points of failure and dependencies on others, as well as the vulnerabilities that exist as a result. Single points of failure are commonplace and the reality of businesses both large and small. Understand your vulnerabilities and the impact on the business, specifically your most critical products and services. Prepare to react if a single point of failure in fact fails.
4. Document a plan that summarizes key procedures to respond and recover; emphasize how you will communicate internally and with suppliers, business partners and customers throughout the course of the crisis.
5. Practice your response and recovery effort using a scenario-based discussion, and ensure all employees understand the firm’s business continuity approach and individual roles and responsibilities. As your business becomes more and more comfortable regarding response, recovery and communications strategies following a disruptive event, consider practicing your reaction. One of the more common, cost-effective techniques is to gather members of the response and recovery team together and use your plan to discuss the response to and recovery from a fictitious event (e.g., hurricane, power outage, fire, public health event, loss of a sole source supplier).
This is known as a tabletop exercise. Discuss how you would assess the situation, estimate downtime, review recovery strategies, communicate with employees and customers and implement an approach to resume operations in a timely manner. Not only will this create awareness, but the exercise process should highlight improvement opportunities for management consideration.