As important as maintaining disaster continuity is to a business or organization, being prepared offers a wealth of opportunity. Even if disaster never strikes.
What Does Disaster Continuity Really Mean?
Essentially, it means that during a disaster situation, your organization continues to function normally. Or almost normally. While everyone else is in panic mode and failing to deliver, you are continuing to supply your clients with what they need, when they need it most.
And simply having disaster contingencies in place that ensure continuity of operations means getting more clients. Because when companies look at their own preparedness, they realize they must work with other companies and organizations that are just as prepared as they are. Or else their own plans fail.
In short, YOU are part of your client’s disaster continuity plan.
Disaster Continuity Planning
Understanding what it takes to achieve uninterrupted continuity during a disaster requires that you understand your business from start to finish. There is a chain of events that starts with you getting everything you need to run your organization, through to everything involved in supplying your clients with the essential goods or services they need.
A disaster can break that chain at any point; supply, operations, distribution, management.
Disaster continuity is the planning you do to make that chain as unbreakable as possible. This often means having many “backup” chains.
Some Key Strategies
Every business and organization has different needs, but it’s helpful to understand some key strategies that ensure continuity during a disaster. And these ideas can be applied to any type of business.
1. Diverse Alternatives
As an example, say your business distributes it’s products by rail car. It is not an effective strategy to have five different shipping companies that ship by rail as a backup plan. Most likely, they all use the same railroad tracks at some point. If disaster strikes the line, none of the trains will run.
Real diverse alternatives mean having a plan that allows you to ship by truck, sea, or air as well as by rail.
Every product has an ingredient list of materials needed to make it. And while most materials can be procurred from a variety of sources, some can’t. Some materials are very specialized. This is especially true if you manufacture a very specialized or premium grade product.
But in an emergency, can the materials you need to build your product or run your operation be substituted with something else? If you look hard enough, the answer is probably yes.
3. Extra Everything
Can you supply a large order quickly during a disaster? Do you have a source of personnel or independent contractors to call on when needed?
During a disaster, many products and services are needed in large quantities. And they are needed quickly. And even after a disaster has passed, if your competitors did not make it through the calamity intact, their customers will be coming to you. Or anyone who can now provide what they need.
A well prepared organization always prospers during or after a major disaster.