Whatever the weather

Whatever the weather

Whether the weather be fine, Or whether the weather be not, Whether the weather be cold, Or whether the weather be hot, We’ll weather the weather, Whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not.

In the UK we may not be experiencing the extreme heat which is hitting Europe and some of the USA at the moment; but climate events such as those provide a good reminder of the importance of preparing for all eventualities. And having prepared, as the traditional children’s verse quoted above comments, we will be far more ready to ‘weather the weather.’

Business continuity planning is as much a key role of company directors as any other type of risk identification and mitigation. Let’s face it, there are going to be times in the company’s life when things aren’t going to run as smoothly as you would wish. Extreme weather events are one of those times, as are a loss of power, IT problems, supplier difficulties, or a host of other situations. Effective identification of potential risks will help directors to put plans in place to either prevent unwanted events happening in the first place or to get back to normal running as quickly as possible.

So what do business continuity plans consist of? The answer to that will vary according to the business sector and model and to the relative importance which the directors place on any aspect of the business. For example, if logistics is a key element of business delivery then weather and transport impacts will be close to the top of the planning tree. On the other hand, if online ordering and delivery play a key role then back up IT systems and IT redundancies may come more to the fore.

Whatever the plan, directors should take steps to avoid the danger of it being business-centric to the exclusion of all else. The risk impact of failure on customers, suppliers, employees, and the wider constituency should always be taken into account. For example, it’s one thing setting alternative delivery systems in place but unless customers are kept fully informed as to what those plans are and consulted on how they are impacted by any changes then you might as well not plan.

Speaking to businesses at a trade show a few years ago one of our colleagues saw this in action. One trade supplier decided not to deliver due to bad winter weather and simply shut their depot. Another also shut their depot for the same reason but spoke individually to customers affected, found out what key products they were missing and tried to arrange for other, more local, companies to fill the gap. I know which company I would rather deal with! Weathering the storm isn’t an off-the-cuff exercise but with good business continuity planning companies can take steps to continue servicing their customers whatever the weather.

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