Packaging X must have a plan in place to implement the previously discussed business continuity plan (BCP). The implementation plan is important as these plans can reveal new issues and challenges that may not have been originally anticipated. The plan is used to help minimize any impact of disruption and to ready all employees. The risks identified earlier include:
Loss of workplace
Loss of product
Loss of customer information
Inability to deliver goods and inability to receive goods.
This affects the whole company with specific attention to customer service, warehouses, and IT to keep the business moving. The first step of the plan is to get everyone on board. It’s important that the owners and management are in agreement a plan needs to exist in order to get support from the rest of the company. Once the higher management is committed and ready to create a plan, a designated disaster implementation team must be created. Because there are several locations for this company, a committee should be made at each location with a super committee overseeing the larger picture and connecting dots between the locations.
The smaller groups will contain leads from every department acting as liaisons. The different teams will recognize different disaster situations affecting their particular areas. These should be acknowledged and prioritized according to needs of the company’s big picture. It’s very easy for each unit to see their own issues as the biggest issues, which is why the larger committee is so important.
The best way to prevent disruption by disaster is to make sure current policies are being followed so that when changes come, changes will be the same for everyone. It’s very hard to evaluate and come up with a plan for disaster if everyone is working by their own rules. Currently expectations are that the following are already taking place: Current procedures of only keeping information on the encrypted company system will allow for the information to be recovered by IT.
Having the warehouse require delivery appointments will allow them to know what orders may need to be rerouted and what hasn’t come in yet. Having the warehouse up to date on stock counts will help to hurry along any insurance claims over destroyed goods. Making sure IT backs up information several times a day on different servers will allow for information to be obtained by those authorized from remote locations if needed.
Each department has to come up and stick to their own policies to be sure each of those is done correctly. These are regular company policies and not specific for disaster. The plan should be communicated to new hires during orientation. This should be done in writing. This would be HR responsibility to include in the opening packet. This is a disaster plan. Explanation and training cannot be put on hold as an actual disaster could occur at any time. Common and company wide information should be distributed in this HR packet. For example, employees need to be made aware of the disaster line that they may call in order to get instructions following an incident. Managers should be given their phone tree lists as they are hired on to avoid any loss of communication. Any company wide changes should be addressed via an email or online module.
Online modules allow for all employees to get a one on one look at the plan. Simple instructions in writing and through videos are a great way to get employees to understand this plan. Of course, they must be given a contact, probably their supervisor, for any questions they may have. Employees in the mix are an excellent source of information of daily duties and what may be needed if resources are lost and can contribute a lot by asking these questions. Once a module is reviewed by employees, it can be signed off on which will make it very easy to track who is and who is not aware of the training material. Because each area has a different role to fulfill, the specific departments should also conduct individual training sessions. The warehouse needs to understand their role in rerouting deliveries.
The IT group must understand their very important role of backing up of data. Because of this, each department should be reviewing their plan quarterly to allow for updates. The plan should be reviewed each time a major change is made, such as a new location is opened or computer systems are converted. The plans devised by each team can be tested. It may not be possible to test all sessions at one time. Facilities can have planned drills in which they evacuate buildings. IT can test their back up servers by accessing files at random times. It’s recommended that IT does this frequently as even one lost day of data could do harm to the company. Employees should be able to go through the motions of a disaster day. Everything from calling into a line and making sure they understand instructions for new meeting locations to being able to work from a remote computer should be covered.
The warehouse and create a strategy to obtain new transportation and new storage facilities should theirs be destroyed. It’s better to practice and understand the plan before any incidents occur than to try to piece it together in the middle of chaos. The plan does need to be monitored and adjusted as things change. Possible changes could include a major increase in employees or moving to new facilities. By having the scheduled building evacuations, technology backup and training meetings, new questions can be brought to light.
Training sessions should have checklists and each item should be reviewed to know that topics were discussed. Any questions should be escalated to the group’s liaison for presentation to the facility group meetings and if required, these questions can move up to the parent company level. Once the BCP is accepted, tested, and evaluated, this will become a routine process. The company should expect a challenging beginning as they sort and evaluate risks, identify plans, and implement change. Though the process will forever be evolving and improving, it will get easier to maintain.