Canadian Manufacturing

5 steps to a solid business continuity plan

Tips made available to prepare for any type of disruption, including social, political and economic threats



Toronto—The British Standards Institution (BSI) has announced its top five tips for organizations to ensure they are prepared for any type of disruption, including social, political and economic threats.

With the global economic recovery stagnant and businesses experiencing budget challenges, the tips—which coincide with the release of a new standard for business continuity management (BCM)—outline an approach to implement precautionary measures against issues such as strikes, mass supply chain disruption, political unrest and customer loss.

Topping the list of tips is preparing a business continuity and survival strategy, with managing organizational balance sheets and conducting full risk assessments also recommended with a view to ensuring businesses don’t just look at internal processes, but also the management of its key suppliers.

BSI also encourages businesses to follow international best practices and adopt a systematic approach to testing and exercising BCM plans with senior management buy in.

“Not enough of today’s organizations exercise their business continuity,” BSI Canada commercial director Gary Robinson said in a statement. “It doesn’t matter what size business you operate, if you don’t exercise your plans, you put your business and its employees at risk.”

According to BSI, environmental incidents over the last 12 months, including severe weather and natural disasters across the globe, have led to greater awareness and a shift in attitudes towards business continuity management.

With the global economy continuing to be turbulent, BSI is urging organizations to bring the issue of business continuity management higher up the boardroom agenda and prepare for the potential fall outs from political instability, social unrest and economic meltdown.

BSI recently sponsored the Chartered Management Institute’s (CMI) Planning for the Worst report, which, according to BSI, shows clear advantages for organizations that have business continuity plans in place to deal with incidents and crises when they hit.

Of those who had to activate plans in 2011, 82 per cent said BCM enabled their organization to return to normal operations more quickly, while 81 per cent agreed it reduced disruption, the firm suggested.

The report also identifies corporate governance as the biggest external driver for BCM.

Implementing such standards will also help businesses to address the more strategic aspects of BCM, according to BSI, such as the potential threats to their supply chains.

BSI’s top five tips for embedding BCM in an organization’s culture:

  • Make sure senior management are continually involved and engaged in Business Continuity. They have the most comprehensive view of the organization and their support will ensure business continuity is taken seriously;
  • Don’t skip on exercising and testing. Short of a real incident, this is the best way to find the holes in your plans, with the advantage that your customers won’t read about it in the press or social media;
  • Undertake a thorough risk assessment and business impact analysis and include all dependencies. Be outward—as well as inward—looking, in particular looking further down your supply chain;
  • Implement a systematic approach to business continuity ensuring the currency of BCM;
  • Follow international best practices. Why reinvent the wheel when hundreds of experts have helped develop a BCM best practice approach that works and is recognized internationally?

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