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''Making resilience a core driver in your business enables you to better respond to and manage unexpected or disruptive events.''

BARRY SMEATON, Expert in resilience, pa consulting group

Responding to a pandemic threat whilst developing a long-term resilience strategy

The threat posed to the UK earlier this year by the global influenza pandemic resulted in a number of businesses reviewing and revising their resilience and continuity plans in the expectation that many of their staff would not be able to get to work.

Over the summer months, swine ’flu (H1N1 ’flu virus) stopped generating regular front-page headlines and the number of reported new cases decreased. However, as winter approaches, the number of new cases is now increasing. In the UK, the Department of Health and the NHS continue to prepare for the worst, although it is impossible to forecast accurately what will happen.

This uncertainty is not unique to swine ’flu. Threats to our ability to do business rarely manifest themselves quite as expected; worse, some events occur that were never predicted at all. As instability and uncertainty are only expected to increase, organisations cannot plan for ‘everything’. Instead, making resilience a core driver in your business strategy and operations enables you to better respond to, manage and emerge from disruptive or unexpected events in the future.

The good news is that there are some key activities that can be undertaken now, that will help you to both manage the short-term threat from swine ’flu, and, importantly, pave the way for longer-term business resilience.

Five key steps to addressing emerging threats

  • Identify key operational staff (not just the leadership team) and implement procedures that will ensure the cross-transfer of skills so critical infrastructure and services can be maintained

  • Review working practices in order to identify the critical business processes that must be maintained, and if/how these can be performed remotely

  • Support the option of key staff temporarily operating from home (assuming remote working is technically feasible and there exists the capability to cope with widespread use; if not, start to investigate this)

  • Agree with customers that reduced service levels may occur; if you are open about this earlier on then you are less likely to suffer long-term loss of business

  • Identify, agree and enforce a strategy and processes with key suppliers and partners so they (and their own value chain) can continue to support your business.

To find out more about assessing and creating resilience in your business, please contact us now.

Nick Newman
Defence and security
contact us now
Ritu Sharma
Defence and security
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