Covid-19 and Business Continuity Management

March 16, 2020
Dave Brady

The Covid-19 pandemic has placed business continuity management once again at the forefront for industries and employers worldwide. Major disruptions, whether local or global, can and will affect your business from time to time.

Most have experienced this to varying degrees, impacting business operations, customers, suppliers, employees, and the communities you operate in. Preparation for major disruptions beforehand has not only become a necessary business precaution but prudent management. Recent history clearly warns us to anticipate a continuance of these disruptive events, impacting industries and businesses in both the short and long run.

Hopefully, your company has initiated plans already in place and found them to be effective. For those without a business continuity plan, here are some steps to create an immediate plan to address Covid-19.

  1. Form an executive team for governance and stakeholder communications
  2. Form an incident team of knowledgeable/expert personnel from all facets of your business
  3. Analyze the pandemics' potential disruption/impact/risks to your key functions. Customers, Operations, Human Resources, Suppliers & Vendors, Finance, Facilities, Technology/Systems, Security, etc.
  4. Prioritize the risks
  5. Develop risk mitigation plans, starting with the highest priorities
  6. Execute plans
  7. Communicate plans to all stakeholders
  8. Monitor - review and revise for effectiveness

Creating a comprehensive long-term plan is recommended. Often, significant projects and investments are required to execute business continuity strategies and mitigate risk. Reacting on the fly to disruptions like Covid-19 is not ideal and can ultimately lead to undesirable situations with unforeseen outcomes. Developing and managing an ongoing business continuity plan is not a trivial undertaking. At the outset, understand this is an ongoing endeavor, one that will undergo constant testing and revision to be effective when needed. Best sponsored from the top, a group of key leaders and subject matter experts must be assembled to govern and steer this undertaking. Efficacy will require new policies, procedures, and processes.

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