Have you considered these serious warning signals for business disruption?

Sailing in for False Bay. A watercolour by Chesney Bradshaw

You may have seen the news about a food company’s business that was disrupted because of the lack of basic services. The company requires a large volume of water for its broiler/chicken broiler operation. The municipality was a unable to supply the required qualities of water and as a result the operation suffered huge losses.

This company isn’t the only victim of a lack of services. Others in the food processing business experience similar incidents. If your business is vulnerable because of basic services such as water and electricity, then it should signal a warning signal for you to take preventative measures.

You may have seen the news about a food company’s business that was disrupted because of the lack of basic services. The company requires a large volume of water for its boiler/chicken broiler operation. The municipality was a unable to supply the required qualities of water and as a result the operation suffered huge losses.

A business continuity management system starts with the basic premise that there are risks internally and externally and an operation needs to identify and evaluate these. Once the risks are identified a business impact analysis (BIA) needs to be performed for each significant risk.

As Stephen Covey says you need to look at the things that matter most in a business. That is having a vision, especially in rapidly changing markets, and a purpose. But the reality of running a business involves being proactive to opportunities and threats int he environment.

Business continuity assists your business to get up and running as soon as possible after a business disruption. With no business continuity plan in place, your business could be disrupted for far longer than necessary (with millions being lost). The business continuity plan involves first looking within at things you can control and then looking outside to see what risks in the environment can cause major business disruption.

Often business leaders and managers are preoccupied with current activity — heavily invested in “the thick of thin things”. When a business disruption occurs, they are at the mercy of finding alternative suppliers at very short notice and even a new or different location to continue with their business operations.

In this disruptive economy where margins are razor thin and costs — especially administered costs — increasingly escalating, a business disruption of a significant size can put you out of business.

When it comes to the supply of basic services, hard decisions sometimes have to be made. Does a business need to relocate? But where? Other areas may have similar problems. A business is not a short-term thing – you are planning for the future at least for a minimum five years or so. A relocation can also involve unnecessary job losses with an unfortunate impact on a local community. There are also limits to relocation because you don’t want to be too far from your main markets, especially with rising transport costs.

Business leaders need to look carefully at relocation and may be required to enter into negotiations or discussions and negotiations with municipal supply service departments. This is not always easy about in some instances you may be forced to do so.

A myopic business person may think, “it will never happen to our business”. But even the most small businesses can suffer a disruptive incident and be out of operation for several months. One business I know went to the wall after an extended business disruption.

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