With North Queensland’s extreme weather season just around the corner, now is a good time to assess how prepared your business is to deal with disruptions that may threaten everything.
North Queensland Governance Risk and Compliance (NQGRC) founder Simon Hompas says it is important to have a business continuity plan to identify priorities and prepare solutions for disruptive threats.
“An effective business continuity program helps a business remain resilient, and operating, if and when things go wrong,” says Simon.
“It identifies the possible risks and threats to a business’s operations, analyses the potential impacts costs, and creates plans and processes to respond to any incidents.”
Some of the threats and subsequent problems a business may face include:
LOSS OF ELECTRICITY – does your business rely on refrigeration or electricity or rely on a business that relies on electricity?
DISRUPTED ROAD AND RAIL NETWORKS – does your business rely on components or goods from outside Townsville that are delivered by road or rail?
LOSS OF INTERNET AND PHONE SERVICES – what will you do if these critical services are disrupted, including disruption to electronic point of sale equipment?
YOU (the business owner) ARE UNREACHABLE – do your staff know what to do?
Simon advises to consider long you could operate without a critical input, and what the impact would be.
“A business continuity plan or system does not have to be expensive or complicated.
“You don’t have to account for everything that could go wrong, create expensive stockpiles, or prepare to operate forever in isolation but it can help you identify blind spots and vulnerabilities, focus your investment and resources to give you, your staff and customers peace of mind.
“Ideally you have also tested and practiced your plan before any incident occurs… and the more realistic, the better!”
A simple exercise you can conduct now is to answer the following questions:
- What are your organisation’s priority products and services that you absolutely must do?
- What do you rely on to conduct those priority products and services? These are known as Dependencies.
- What is your Maximum Tolerable Period of Disruption (MTPD) – how long could you tolerate not been able to conduct those priority services?
- What are your options in case a dependency is disrupted? You can then plan to:
- Tolerate – Cease operations or providing a certain service for a period until the situation is resolved (just remember to plan how long this might be).
- Treat – Come up with a plan to temporarily solve the problem e.g. a generator, alternate supplier, alternate building etc.
- Transfer – Insurance or transfer business to another operator.
“Business Continuity Management is all about logically working through ‘what if’ scenarios to help your business build resilience,” says Simon.
“You can’t predict the future, but you can prepare for it.”
For more information, visit https://nqgrc.com.au/.
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