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Business Continuity and Resumption becomes more important to businesses when something goes wrong. The panic sets in, the rush to make things right and then the finger-pointing aftermath. Many companies take the gamble because business continuity and resumption seems like such a daunting task and who really has time for all that?  Well, here are four steps to motivate you to get cracking on your Business Continuity and Resumption Planning (BCRP).

One of the great places to start your BCRP process is to conduct an All Hazards Risk Assessment. A good all hazards assessment will short-list what your company (per location) will need to address in your planning. For example, are hurricanes prevalent in your operating area, or is that St. Louis branch far inland and unaffected by such weather conditions? What are the historic norms for your hot list of hazards? Now that you have completed your All Hazards Risk Assessment, you have great intel to begin your BCRP journey…

Tip #1  Leverage Your Internal Resources

Your company has many unique processes and programming to deliver your product or service to   market. The greatest experts are therefore within your own operations. There are many front-line personnel that hold amazing amounts of historical and current know-how. Whether you tackle this planning alone or with a consultant, you need to ensure this knowledge base is exploited for the good of your company and you need to resist any third-party consultant that wishes to move you towards a cookie-cutter approach to BCRP. Leverage your internal resources and save yourself money in the long run.

Tip #2  Break Up the Work Into Small Tasks

BCRP does not come together overnight. Organize a team of internal stakeholders from various departments within your operations. Develop a questionnaire to be sent out to every department within your operations. Send it to that department’s manager. Have each department rank their critical processes and equipment/material needs. Don’t overload them and don’t give these folks to many tasks to do at once, or they simple will push this to the side of their desks.

Tip #3  Analyze Responses and Probe Loss

Now that your team has flushed out what may be critical to your specific business units, have each department take another small bite of the BCRP pie. Have your team develop a rating system for the impact of loss of process or equipment, based on time. What will the impact be if this process, equipment or other asset be unavailable for (5 minutes, 20 minutes, 40 minutes, 1 hour and so on). Include 24, 48 and 72 hour time frames.

Tip #4  Zero in and Get Creative

Now have your team work with the departments to sort out what was “nice to have” on the lists, as opposed to what is really CRITICAL to company operations. When you have whittled things down to what is truly critical, it’s time to work creatively on solutions that will help your company RESUME operations, following a emergency. Think out of the box to see what you can borrow, patch or share within and outside of your operations. Pen agreements and devise plans around these valuable recovery resources and begin to assemble these items NOW, while there is no active crisis to deal with. Ensure that you update this entire process on a regular basis.

There are many ways to tackle the Business Continuity and Resumption Planning process. This is one very simplistic way of starting something from scratch. In an upcoming blog post, I will share some examples from the field regarding some of these items and issues. Good luck with your BCRP!