Surviving Disaster

7 Feb

Management may wonder what are the essential resources that the business needs to continue operations?

Five main types of resources necessary for the continuity of operations are identified by Duncan, Yeager, Rucks & Ginter 2011: facilities, communication, records and databases, supplies, and human resources.

Continuity of facilities:

As discussed in my second blog a second location for the conducting of business should be identified or else firms will feel the consequences of not being prepared as was the case with Caterpillar. When a tornado struck Oxford, Mississippi in 2008 and destroyed much of the Caterpillar operations there, it placed major hardships on the company and its employees. Caterpillar essentially put all its ‘eggs in one basket’ by locating the manufacturing facilities for all its high-pressure couplings–—used in bulldozers, dump trucks, and excavators–—in a single facility, which was rendered inoperable by the storm (‘‘Caterpillar and Disaster Preparedness,’’ 2008).

Continuity of Communication:

Communication is vital for a business to enable it to respond to, and recover from a crisis. Electronic, verbal, and written/paper are three components of essential communication. Electronic communication is likely to be the first to go with verbal communication also can decline in a crisis and so it is the written/paper communication channel that is the most reliable. Experts suggest experts suggest that all employees have a personal copy of the continuity of operations plan and the specific standard operating procedures for the positions they back up (Duncan, Yeager, Rucks & Ginter 2011).

 

Continuity of records and databases or (RIM):

“All records, information systems, and data management software required to support individuals accountable for accomplishing mission-critical functions must be identified, backed up, and safeguarded.” An example of safeguarding data is the First National Bank of Omaha when they decided to build its new operations facility partly below ground with reinforced walls designed to withstand winds of 260 miles per hour. In addition, the bank’s back office operations were powered completely by in-house, hydrogen-based fuel cell technology. As one bank spokesperson noted, ‘‘[even] if the whole city of Omaha loses power, [First National] won’t lose it’’ (Fest, 2009, p. 16).

Continuity of Suppliers:

Again a big issue as discussed in my third blog, when external services are required and materials are purchased, it is important to regularly review vendor and contractor agreements to ensure these firms also have continuity of operations plans in case of a disaster (Altman, 2006).

Continuity of Human Resources:

People have to be accounted for, and someone must be responsible for counting and reporting. Rally points need to be established, in the event that employees are separated or work at satellite locations. (Duncan, Yeager, Rucks & Ginter 2011)

These 5 resources would be identified in step 3 in my first blog in a business impact analysis.

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