Advocate Article

4th WEEK JULY 2014

Recent events in Northland and elsewhere around New Zealand have shown the devastating impact that natural or man-made disasters can have on businesses and the economy.  Disruption of business will affect your ability to maintain your existing market.  Some statistics suggest that 3 out of 5 businesses do not have the resilience to survive a major disruption to their business and many cease operating within 5 years of such an event.


Previously, something that many enterprises – small or large – may not have considered is how such an event would directly affect their ability to continue to operate.  The scale and context of these unplanned disruptions may vary from something like Northland’s typical weather events to something far more catastrophic but the objective for the business remains the same.  How do they keep their business operating?


It is generally accepted that a business should have a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and the exact nature of such a plan will vary depending on the business to which it is to be applied to.  The plan will map out how to continue doing business until the environment in which it is operating recovers from whatever event caused the disruption.  These plans are probably a useful document not just for their intended purposes but also for examining how your business operates and what are the key processes, personnel and resources.


Within the region, Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management from time to time run BCP workshops for Northland businesses which provide them with the resources to develop a plan suitable for the scale and nature of their business.  When developing such a plan it is important that the business keeps an open mind and considers all possible events and what kind of disruption may come from them.  This is not a one size fits all document so must be able to be scaled up or down as required and be flexible enough to adapt to changes in the circumstances and your business.


It will give you the opportunity to examine your supply chain and see what relationships you have that are critical to you continuing to operate.  It may be appropriate to discuss with those key stakeholders what if any BCPs they have.  The unexpected will happen and if your business has planned for this and communicated you plan to your strategic partners then your ability to continue to trade in the future will be enhanced.


Back to top