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Business Planning & Continuity

Pandemic Preparedness Planning

The Pillars and Benefits of Pandemic Preparedness Planning.

 

Pandemics aren’t your usual business disruption. Unfolding over the next couple of months, these events require an extra set of activities to reduce the impact on your business, staff and supply chain – keeping your business moving forward. 

Now is the time to plan. Read the benefits of pandemic preparedness planning:

Minimise the impact on staff

Minimise the impact on the organisational supply chain

Minimise the impact on service delivery

Minimise impact on the IT Infrastructure

Return to normality sooner

Responding to COVID-19

ACT NOW

  • Create business continuity and crisis teams in affected areas.
  • Communicate awareness and monitoring to employees, key third parties and customers.
  • Consider implications of and tolerance levels for high absenteeism on critical processes.
  • Balance service delivery.

PRIORITISE

  • Ask functional leaders to reconsider 2020 forecasts.
  • Increase liquidity and financial backstop.
  • Implement employee awareness campaigns on personal hygiene.
  • Assess key third parties for resiliency in the face of high absenteeism.
  • Establish a plan for handling the backlog of work once you are back to “normal.”

AVOID

  • Implementation disruptions of key strategies and priorities.
  • Reputational damage from misinformation about the organisation’s response to COVID-19.
  • Short-term over reactions by functional leaders.
  • Difficulties with working capital availability.

 

Crisis Management is Essential

  1.  Establish a pandemic preparedness framework.
  2.  Monitor the situation to determine a change in severity.
  3.  Review finance and treasury implications.
  4.  Extend your clean workplace/personal hygiene protocols.
  5.  Review HR policies and practices.
  6.  Establish a pandemic communications program.
  7.  Review impact on business operations.
  8.  Review IT actions and considerations.
  9.  Review pandemic plan to identify and remediate problem areas.
  10. After-action review.

Finance & Treasury Implications

  • Revise revenue forecasts, e.g., lost sales, lost production, unexpected expenses, foreign exchange implications.
  • Communicate with investors about any earnings guidance changes.
  • Determine and report if there will be accounting close delays.
  • Increase financial backstop, and monitor available cash.
  • Monitor working capital.
  • Review corporate insurance coverage for conditions around deductibles, payouts, etc., e.g., business interruption insurance, P&C.
  • Consider using government-sponsored financial relief or bank loans to cover lost revenue and support cash flow.

Extend Your Clean Workplace/Personal Hygiene Protocols

  • Extend your already established organisation- wide hygiene protocols:
    – Provide more frequent cleaning services.
    – Place personal hygiene supplies everywhere.
  • Establish handling protocol for staff returning from affected areas (business or personal travel).
  • Ensure compliance with national, state and local workplace laws and regulations.

HR Policies and Practices

  • Monitor your absenteeism rate.
  • Offer flexible work options.
  • Be sensitive to changes in employee engagement and potentially changing workplace preferences.
  • Implement visitor handling procedures.
  • Identify critical skill shortages.
  • Implement/review your remote work program.
  • Review HR policies and benefits:
    • Time off/sick leave (how much time, paid/unpaid, salary advance, salary continuation, benefits coverage)
    • Bereavement time

Impact on Business Operations

  • Determine if countries of operation have closed transportation into and out of impacted areas. Develop alternative procedures, if possible, to ensure continuity of operations.
  • Understand local calendars in countries of operation, e.g., extended national holidays and how the local calendar impacts the ability to deliver products/services.
  • Identify whether key suppliers/third parties are located within affected areas. Confirm inventory levels, identify backup suppliers and manage stock levels to support delivery to the most critical customers.
  • Understand where operations can continue with reduced staff (and at what level of operations).
  • Understand which business operations need to be augmented to operate, and which business operations need to be suspended due to a lack of healthy employees.
  • Understand contractual and service-level performance impacts and communicate concerns to key partners.
  • Prepare for increased legal risk from customers and employees, e.g., people catching the virus at work.
  • Establish a plan for handling the backlog of work once you are back to the “new normal.”

Data and Analytics Considerations and Contributions

  • Create a data strategy that emphasises pathways of trusted information – centralised and decentralised – aligned with company goals such as providing a healthy work environment.

  • Assess your data sources and analytics mechanisms.

  • Consider implementing a platform with analytics and modeling capability using data sources that are accessible company-wide and with linkage to staff contact information and key databases.

  • Use readily available services providing real-time pandemic information as part of your data sources and make available to staff.

  • Implement data and analytics technologies that aid in reporting events by staff.

  • Use data to tell the story and plan out scenarios.

  • Consider how data science and artificial intelligence can be used, e.g., in supply chain predictions.

Resources

Ebook: Business Continuity Management – Pandemic Preparedness Planning

Ebook: The Pillars of Pandemic Planning

Ebook: Scenario Planning for Economic Uncertainty

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