Surviving a disaster as a business is not a matter of luck—it is a matter of preparation.
As a business owner following the last turbulent years, you have probably asked yourself, “Is my business prepared when disaster strikes?” Disasters and other unforeseen circumstances can severely impact businesses and their supply chains if they’re not prepared. However, by taking a proactive approach, companies can minimize the impact of such disasters and even unlock growth potential. Our CEO and Founder, Carmit Glik, emphasizes the importance of disaster preparation in her recent article in Supply & Demand Chain Executive, “Preparedness Remains Key to Unlocking Growth Potential in Uncertain Times.”
Holistic Approach to Disaster Preparation
Disaster preparation is not just another item on a tedious to-do list. It should be a passion that drives businesses to enhance their future. Taking a holistic approach to disaster preparation is vital to the success of a business.
According to Glik, “Through a holistic approach to disaster preparation, I have found that the potential benefits extend well beyond the parameters of any individual cargo container.” Disaster preparation involves analyzing all resources that impact the business’s timeline and value chain. With the proper preparation, businesses can discover creative and efficient ways to operate, providing more value for customers by anticipating potential disruptions. Two crucial components of disaster preparation include sustainability and liability.
Sustainability: Can your business continue to operate when a disaster impacts your operations? How will it impact its supply chain? In times of disaster, businesses must assess their resources and anticipate potential disruptions to sustain operations and meet customer needs.
Liability: A business must recognize the importance of understanding its liabilities in the event of a disaster. It is crucial to ask questions such as whether the company has proper insurance coverage and to ensure all contracts are fully understood to avoid any potential loopholes.
Proactive Disaster Preparation
Managing liability risks is critical for any business. It means ensuring that all contracts are fully understood and have adequate insurance coverage in case of an unforeseen issue. Instead of waiting for problems to arise, companies should take steps to identify any potential areas of exposure and, more importantly, put strategies in place to mitigate those risks before they occur.
Contingency planning is the process of identifying potential risks that could disrupt business operations and creating a plan that outlines the necessary actions to take in the event of a disaster. At a tactical level, this could include creating a checklist of items needed during the recovery process, such as insurance claims, legal matters, and employee relations. Through contingency planning, businesses can ensure their proactivity in the face of disaster and ultimately prevent unnecessary losses.
Tabletop exercises are a disaster preparedness tool that simulates hypothetical disaster scenarios that could affect a business. During these exercises, companies work through these scenarios and uncover vulnerabilities that could lead to disruption in supply chains, loss of critical resources, or other disasters that could impact the business. By exploring hypothetical scenarios through tabletop exercises, companies can prepare themselves accordingly and gain exposure to how they would react during a disaster.
Business Continuity Planning
Business continuity planning is an extensive process that focuses on developing a strategic approach to ensure the sustainability of a business following a disaster. The aim is to identify critical business functions and minimize disruptions to operations while improving resilience to future disasters. This process usually covers the development of a comprehensive business resiliency plan, policy creation, testing, and contingency arrangements with internal and external stakeholders. With a business continuity plan, businesses can be confident that they can quickly and efficiently resume normal operations following a disaster.
Businesses can ensure they are well-positioned for long-term success by being proactive and thoughtful in disaster preparation. In Glik’s experience, “The regular process of reviewing the scope of our business and making an actual list of all material, transactional and human resources that impact our timelines and our value chain has enabled us to not only discover creative and more efficient ways to run our own business but also to provide far more valuable advice to our clients as well.”
Transparency, Digitization, and Organization
Transparency, digitization, and organization are crucial for effectively navigating disruptive events. Companies must prioritize transparency in all aspects of their operations, from finance to decision-making processes, to ensure that all information is easily accessible to all stakeholders and that there are no surprises regarding essential business matters.
Glik believes, “Whether disaster comes courtesy of Mother Nature or the Internet, isolated data storage devices will only heighten your vulnerability. With digitization becoming the norm in global transport, we continue to be surprised when we encounter companies working with local servers that document their shipping imports and exports.”
Organizing business processes before disaster strikes is also critical. Companies must have clear contingency plans and protocols to respond to any adverse situation swiftly and effectively. This essential part of business continuity planning can include everything from communication strategies to alternate workspaces, and it ensures continuity in operations even during challenging times.
When these factors are considered, businesses will be better equipped to manage any disruption that comes their way, making them more resilient and better positioned for long-term success.
Unlocking Growth Potential
By being prepared, businesses can ensure growth potential and minimize potential losses. This preparation involves mapping out systems ahead of time and being ready to respond immediately when adversity strikes. Glik shares, “Disaster prep done right? You can avert a crisis. Disaster prep done brilliantly. You can multiply your growth.”
Through a holistic approach, individuals and machines know their roles day in and day out, regardless of obstacles in the supply chain. Being nimble is essential to strategically plan the lifeline of a business in times of disasters, anticipate potential disruptions, and plan for customer needs.
Key Points on Disaster Preparation
Glik provides several critical points on how to prepare your business for potential disasters, including:
- Review the scope of your business, looking at material, transactional, and human resources that could be impacted in a disaster.
- Ask yourself how you can sustain operations and meet customer expectations during a disaster.
- Pay close attention to liability issues, ensuring all contracts are fully understood, and the business has proper insurance coverage.
- Prioritize transparency, digitization, and organization to stay ahead of disasters.
- Move data storage beyond physical devices to remote options to access information during a crisis.
- Map out processes ahead of time and be prepared to respond immediately when adversity strikes.
Surviving a disaster as a business is not a matter of luck—it is a matter of preparation. By taking a proactive approach to disaster preparation, companies can discover efficient ways to operate, providing more value for customers by anticipating potential disruptions. Disaster preparation is critical for ensuring sustainable growth in uncertain times. Business owners must prioritize transparency, digitization and organization, liability insurance, and adopt a holistic approach to unleash their growth potential.
We at Ship4wd are dedicated to helping small and mid-sized businesses get the most out of their shipping processes. Regardless of their experience in logistics, business owners can count on us to get their shipments to where they need them.