As manufacturers, events out of our control sometimes interrupt the flow of business. Unfortunately, we all learned this lesson the hard way during Hurricane Sandy. When a disaster or interruption occurs, the thoughts of leadership and employees alike immediately turn to the health and well-being of families. Of course this is the right direction. However, at some point we also need to focus on maintaining the course and flow of our business. If operations shut down, then the disaster continues – people need a place to work and support their families.
If you’re a New Jersey manufacturer, it’s critical to figure out how to keep the business running in the face of a disaster or unexpected event.
What is Business Continuity Planning?
Business continuity planning comprehensively defines the plan of action a business will take when circumstances arise that threaten operations. The business continuity plan mitigates operations stoppages with direct actions designed to lessen the impact. It gives everyone at the facility a path forward if operations are interrupted.
What types of events can stop operations?
Natural disasters, power outages and the like are all pretty obvious, but many other issues can arise very easily. Here’s a short list of potential events that could halt production:
- A virus that spreads through the staff.
- A critical piece of equipment recalled.
- A product recall at your own facility.
- Toxic chemical spill occurs within the facility, causing an evacuation.
- Plumbing failure floods the factory floor.
OK, the list is getting long… especially for an “unpleasant” topic like this… but you get the idea: while we can hope for the best, we have to prepare for the worst.
Take the first step.
Most business owners don’t have time to stop the day-to-day responsibilities and conduct a comprehensive business continuity planning session. Expert advice is available. Calling an organization like the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) is the perfect place for acquiring the talents of professionals with the experience in tackling business continuity planning.
NJMEP understands the importance of business continuity planning and the many facets that need to be addressed. Everyone from the owners to employees to stakeholders and the community at large will be considered with a highly executable plan.
Business Continuity Planning provides countless benefits.
Like all production and safety operations, it’s critical that the staff, from the owner to the newest employee, understands what’s going to happen in the face of a stoppage. Just like they should all know their expectations at work. That’s benefit number one — a clear path forward. However, more good things can come from business continuity planning:
- Avoid a loss of revenue: When production stops, revenue stops and customers may be forced to look elsewhere for the products they need. Proactively addressing risk, production management and accountability across the organization can significantly reduce downtime and the impact of a disaster.
- Creating a proactive culture: Business continuity planning is one more important reason to foster a proactive culture. Employees who can recognize and address potentially harmful occurrences will feel more secure at the workplace and empowered. Leaders who drive this planning will be seen as far more credible.
- Business Continuity Planning can turn disaster into an opportunity: Oreck, the vacuum cleaner company, found itself in the path of Hurricane Katrina and was able to emerge quickly from the disaster, resume operations and offer assistance to the community. Johnson & Johnson withstood the Tylenol disaster in the 1980s with business continuity planning. Their actions were so effective that they actually improved their reputation due to their rapid and thorough response.
Don’t try to tackle something as dynamic and critically important at business continuity planning on your own when many resources are available. NJMEP is a not-for-profit organization designed to guide business through almost every situation. Call (973) 998-9801 for more information!