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The importance of knowing how to act before the unexpected

May 20, 2020

Today it is no longer enough just to have the ability to react to the crisis. It is imperative that companies start implementing comprehensive plans that enable them to cover the entire cycle of these crises.

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The importance of knowing how to act before the unexpected
The importance of knowing how to act before the unexpected

The opinions of the employees of s You are personal.


In the past two decades, companies in various sectors around the world have dealt with external, uncontrollable factors that jeopardize their daily operations. Examples include natural disasters, geological phenomena, the emergence of new diseases, cyber attacks and terrorist attacks that have led to companies becoming one Prevention culture with the implementation of plans and Emergency strategies this ensures the continuity of your business, even in the most adverse scenario.

Today it is no longer enough just to have the ability to react to the crisis. It is imperative that companies begin to implement comprehensive plans that enable them to cover the entire cycle of these crises, from emergency response to disaster recovery. It is also important that the critical processes for the weeks and months after these events are well defined.

A continuity plan will undoubtedly help companies to react faster and more effectively to unexpected interruptions and to anticipate and mitigate the loss of income, reputation and spending in a crisis. It should also not be forgotten that this is a continuous process in which natural and man-made events have to be identified in order to counteract their effects and to restore operations in the shortest possible time.

It is also important to mention that creating a continuity plan that is reliable for management and the management team can take up to five years if full-time resources are allocated to coordinate the initial efforts to assess risk and identify critical processes for operations . Something that can certainly help narrow the learning curve is to involve specialists who are knowledgeable on the subject, as their experience will help to know whether it works in the industry or not.

Likewise, a good plan requires a holistic vision of the company that identifies its critical aspects, the moving parts that contribute to its operation (people, suppliers, systems, data, networks and facilities) and the audience. of interest that can impact or be affected (employees, customers and regulators) without forgetting the internal and external elements that can delay the return of operations (transport, energy, communication and infrastructure). In my view, effective planning must take the following elements into account:

  • There must be a management and governance program in which the authorities, roles and responsibilities must be defined, including decision-making and communication structures.
  • You must identify and prioritize critical functions based on an impact analysis.
  • You need to set recovery time goals for the various systems that exist in the organization as needed, and an assessment of the time that may be out of order.
  • Alternative solutions for the return of critical operational functions must be defined.

In the particular case of 3M, I can say that we learned this learning after the first epidemic of the 21st century – I mean SARS – when we found that we did not have enough capacity to meet the high demand for contingency . This situation has caused us to rethink various things, including plans and strategies that would always guarantee our operations and the efficient delivery of our products.

With the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, companies need to activate their crisis response teams to coordinate contingency plans and strategies that enable them to ensure the continuity of their business with the least possible harm. In our case, we did this to ensure the supply of protective medical equipment, which was crucial to contain this crisis.