Business Continuity – A necessary program or needless pain?
Anyone who has been through a GFSI audit has been challenged to discuss and provide proof of a Business Continuity Plan. If you’re anything like me, the answer evolved over the years from “huh” to “well we’ll manage” to “our plan is to xxx”. But did we ever really think through “xxx” and did we believe in any of it?
A combination of “it’ll never happen to me” and “we’ll know what to do when the time comes” work to make us feel that a continuity plan is at best unnecessary and at worst a colossal waste of company time and effort leads to the citing in this Harvard Business Review article that 75% of the companies surveyed had been hit by an unexpected supply chain disruption within the previous 24 months. This is a troubling statistic given the current emphasis on planning and preparedness.
After much coaching and a bit of frustration at not being able to easily provide proof to auditors my former company embarked on a quest to truly test our business continuity plan. The credit goes to the plant’s Safety Manager who developed a believable and detailed scenario and led the Site Leadership Team through the event blow by blow. The experience was very humbling for all of us and highlighted our weaknesses and strengths in the event of a catastrophe. Thankfully we never had the opportunity to see it in action to judge whether it was beneficial but I will say it was an eye opening exercise.
I encourage each of you to walk through your plan and truly answer some of the hard questions it raises – better to test with a clear head than during an event when you wish you had.