The Opinion Page
News and comments about the issues facing today's SCM and Inventory Management professionals.
This is a follow up to my article, "Facing the Reality of Risk" also published in the Durham Business Times, April 2011 edition. Ten Tips emphasizes certain issues that work to enhance the development of a high quality contingency plan.
The continued health and safety of all operatives must be the highest priority. Ensure that all plans recognize this precept.
Clearly define objectives:
The mandate must be unambiguous, specific and realistic. How will your firm define success?
Use cross functional teams to ensure that solutions meet the needs of key stakeholders, and that the tactics presented do not create unanticipated new challenges. Take a broad perspective, thinking in global terms, even while developing specific action plans.
Use Creative Thinking:
Be flexible. Think “outside the box”, especially where unconventional risks such as pandemics are concerned. Existing contingency models - if any exist - may be too simplistic.
It’s Never Too Late:
If your business does not have a plan to ensure business continuity in the event of an external threat, start one now. It is a journey, in the spirit of continuous improvement. To get on base, one must first be willing to leave the batter’s box.
Clearly define risk tolerance:
“Business as usual” is unrealistic. Know what is essential and what is not. Draw lines over which the firm will not cross. Define the term “critical”.
List critical commodities and services:
Not every item and activity is essential. Identify commodities and services that are critical to continued operations. Challenge the lists. In the event of a manifested threat, resources will have to be redeployed to support these essential items and services.
Involve your customers and suppliers in the development of the plan. Understand their specific challenges and requirements.
Understand the importance of the plan. Remove barriers to its development such as denial and scepticism. Involve key stakeholders in the plan’s development.
Show employees how the contingency plans align with their daily activities. Demonstrate its importance. Establish universal understanding and commitment. Keep it simple, and relevant.
John Skelton is the Principal Consultant and founder of Strategic Inventory Management.