Plan for the unexpected, so you are prepared
The phrase 'proper planning prevents poor performance' is valid in every discipline. In today's business arena, more than ever, being prepared can make the difference between peril or prosperity. Together with your core team, we develop and implement custom Business Continuity Planning (BCP). This enables your organization to thrive even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Recent local and global disasters, such as riots, natural disasters, or a global pandemic, have shown how important it is to prepare for the unexpected. Creating those plans, however, can compromise your everyday operation if done incorrectly.
Critical functions that need to keep on running
Why Business Continuity Planning matters
Creating a powerful and thoughtful playbook for when it matters most, enables businesses and organizations to respond to any crisis and keep their most critical processes up and running.
During any crisis like natural disasters (fire, tsunamis, earthquake, etc.), man-made emergencies (bomb threats, terror attacks, active shooter, and more), political unrest, strikes, war, or a global pandemic there is no time to sit down and plan these activities. The organization will need to have a playbook reviewed and ready if it wants to stand a chance.
Equally, events like IT failure (system downtime), supply chain disruptions (vendor failure), or third-party sabotage will have a massive impact and need to be addressed.
What is Business Continuity Planning (BCP)?
If done right, creating effective responses for the 'unexpected' will be a holistic process that provides a framework for building resilience and directing the recovery and continuity of critical functions during a disaster.
Broadly speaking, the benefits of BCP include:
- Lower the cost of interruptions
- Act according to a plan when disruptions occur
- Resume operations as quickly as possible
- Fulfill regulatory and compliance requirements
- Secure a competitive edge
- Satisfy a vital requirement from your board
- Demonstrate to your insurer and key customers that you are prepared
What's the difference between Crisis Management (CM) and Business Continuity Planning (BCP)?
While crisis management focuses on the immediate response, business continuity planning forms the systematic recovery activities that follow the immediate response to disruptions or a disastrous event. As part of holistic business continuity planning, a solid approach will always address the two phases of a response — crisis management and business continuity.
How to build a solid playbook?
Creating a business continuity plan usually starts with identifying the most crucial activities and business processes. From finance and administration, sales, services, and fulfillment to manufacturing, shipping, etc., the organization must look at all threats and quantify their impact and likelihood. To combat disruption effectively, many important questions have to be answered, thus developing a deep understanding of the inner workings of the company.
Additionally, the company needs to identify the resources essential for the processes. Then the organization needs to prioritize the list of processes and match them with impacts to develop effective backup plans. Having identified the activities and threats, their planned responses can be prioritized, and appropriate resources can be made available.
This playbook serves as the blueprint that a management team can immediately access when the need arises during the onslaught of a crisis. To make sure, however, that the plan can be executed swiftly when it needs to be, the processes are owned by the department and people that are affected by disruption rather than top management only. Equally, the plans must be accessible to everyone so that in case of disruptions
Business Continuity Planning also considers Duty of Care in designing support plans for your workforce.
What are some advanced options for Business Continuity Planning?
In recent years, global standards for business continuity planning have emerged, such as ISO 22301. The standard only mentions “documented procedures that guide organizations to respond, recover, resume, and restore to a pre-defined level of operation following disruption” and thus leaves it to the implementer how often to review these plans and how to document the review. These two aspects, however, are very important to keep current and make sure the plans always factor in the latest insights on the macro and company level.
Establishing a true business continuity culture that understands Business Continuity Planning (BCP) as an ongoing, never-ending part of the organization is imperative. During set cycles, the organization will continuously run through the following stages
- Understanding the business: What are our key products & activities?
- Determine the business continuity strategy: What does successful delivery look like?
- Identify & assess business continuity risk: What can go wrong, and when?
- Identify & implement business continuity measures: How can we keep going?
- Develop a business continuity response plan: What contingencies will we execute when disruptions occur?
- Exercise, maintain, and audit regularly: Are we prepared?
Implementing BCP successfully: Embedding it into the organizational mindset
Organizations that are most successful at Business Continuity Planning (BCP) recognize it as an opportunity to create a competitive advantage. Being better than your competitors in a situation that affects everyone is not only helping the longevity of your organization, but it also creates comfort among employees, management, and shareholders that you are prepared and that you stand the best of chances in the worst of times.