Are You Prepared to Overcome Business Interruptions

Sooner or later, every business will experience a crisis of some sort. It may be a cyberattack or natural disaster or power blackout, to name a few. But, when a crisis strikes, are you prepared to overcome whatever business interruption it is and keep serving your customers?

The importance of effective business contingency plans can’t be overstated. Anticipating what might happen “helps businesses manage risk, handle employee dispute and workplace injuries, avoid negative publicity, and recover from natural and human-made disasters,” notes Synario. The goal is to “minimize the potential damage to your business’s reputation, profits, and revenue.”

Over the years, many of us in the hardwood lumber industry have successfully continued operations when outages occurred. Undoubtedly, those that have gave considerable thought to how their employees would communicate internally and externally, how their team would locate vital information about the business, and what specific methods would be used to restore the business to full operating power succeeded.  And as Forbes notes, “The best time to make those types of decisions is usually well in advance of any potentially disruptive event.”

From experience, we have found it is important to have solid plans that include the following key areas of consideration.

Plot out a crisis communications strategy. If something bad happened tomorrow, how easily would it be to contact your employees, your customers, your suppliers, etc.? Consider breaking down the complete list into separate groups, so the most essential personnel can always remain in touch.

Identify real and possible risks. You probably understand the risks your company faces at the moment, but what about the future? Assessing potential threats to business continuity is well worth the effort.

Devise a plan to continue to serve customers and move inventory. The odds are just as likely a crisis will hit when your business has ample inventory in stock, as opposed to your business having little or no inventory to call upon. So, it’s a good idea to formulate a crisis strategy for how to continue to move inventory to your customers which means you might have to set up shop somewhere else temporarily or identify partner suppliers so not to lose any business.

Have a recovery plan in place. In addition to taking concrete actions to protect your business in a crisis, make plans to get the business up and running as quickly as possible after a crisis passes. For us that included separate and distinct strategies for our foresters and log buyers, our sawmills, hardwood concentration yards and our administrative and hardwood sales staff as well.

No one can safely predict when a crisis might strike. In the past we have suggested you might also want to conduct a “supply chain stress test” to identify potential gaps in logistics as well.

In general, we have found that businesses that actively prepare for difficult conditions are the ones most likely to weather the storm and move ahead afterward.

Do you have any contingency planning thoughts to share? Let us know.

Tony C.
The Baillie Group
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.