Power through business disruptions and ascertain operational stability with a practical and effective business continuity plan
Published 23 Sep 2022
A business continuity plan is a practical guide developed by companies to enable continuous operations in the event of major business disruptions like natural disasters and global lockdowns. Business continuity planning usually involves analyzing the impact of disrupted business processes and determining recovery strategies with management. Business continuity plans should also be properly documented and tested through exercises for optimal effectiveness.
The goal of a business continuity plan is to strengthen the defense of businesses against a number of potential disruptions. It also aims to maintain critical business functions during unforeseen disasters. With a comprehensive business continuity plan, leaders can ensure that despite restrictions, there would be a reduced impact towards the company, its employees, and operations.
Business Continuity Plan | View Sample PDF
With economies impaired by the COVID-19 pandemic, business continuity has increasingly become a top priority for organizations around the world. A business continuity plan (BCP) is important because it helps companies maintain essential functions amid or after emergency situations, protecting their reputation and minimizing financial losses. Moreover, it helps employers stay on top of disruptive incidents and empower workers to complete job tasks with confidence.
The main difference between a business continuity plan and a disaster recovery plan is that the former encompasses the latter—that is, business continuity planning includes disaster recovery planning. ISO 22301:2019 is the international standard for business continuity management (BCM) systems, and it outlines how specific plans for disaster recovery, incident preparedness, and emergency response may be needed rather than just one large plan for business continuity.
Creating a business continuity plan seems to be a daunting task at first, especially for managers of operations, information technology, and human resources as they are often designated with this duty. As recommended by the International Labour Organization (ILO), listed below are general steps in developing a business continuity plan for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs):
Eliminate manual tasks and streamline your operations.
When planning for business continuity, it helps to break down its elements into quickly-understood segments. Keeping the plan user-focused can also help ensure usability and promote transferability. The following is a brief ILO example of how a small business owner developed a business continuity plan to mitigate the impact of COVID-19:
COVID-19 Risk Assessment: high-risk profile
Key Products: different types of canned sardines
Potential Impact of Disruptions:
4Ps Framework Action Points:
Even when disruptions can force businesses to shut down, yours doesn’t have to. Aim for operational stability by developing and implementing a business continuity plan with the help of a simple tool like iAuditor by SafetyCulture. iAuditor is a digital platform that empowers people to work safely and efficiently through mobile checklists, actions, and reporting.
Using iAuditor as a business continuity software, here’s how different companies around the world reached business continuity amid COVID-19:
Footasylum is a sports fashion retailer in the UK with 70 stores and over 2,700 employees nationwide. Because of the emerging novel coronavirus outbreak, they knew it was inevitable for retail stores to close without an idea when they could safely reopen.
They used iAuditor to safely reopen stores by conducting a preliminary COVID-19 store opening check which provided incredibly quick insight on the current state of the stores and created actions for what needed to be done to control health and safety risks.
Now that stores are open, the team uses iAuditor to monitor daily activity through a retail COVID-19 daily requirements check, giving the management confidence that they are doing everything that is reasonably practicable to ensure the safety of their staff and customers.
“We have come out of this as a really strong team, and pride is really high,” said Jane Buck, Head of Human Resources and Health and Safety.
Statewide Independent Wholesalers (SIW) is a grocery wholesaler that holds and delivers goods for most of the major supermarkets in Tasmania, Australia. When COVID-19 hit, they needed to make decisions quickly due to the risk which was significantly high.
The grocer giant stayed completely focused on meeting COVID-19 hygiene and distancing requirements, as they do around 75 checks every week. Health, Safety, and Environmental Manager Courtney Newman shared, “iAuditor is a really valuable tool to do that. It’s made a huge difference to our data collection, and our behavior observation space, too.”
They managed to minimize 6.5 hours of admin time which was useful when they needed that time to keep themselves informed on the latest news and guidance. Courtney continued, “I took the iAuditor program and used it the way I wanted to. This means if any of our teams are doing anything of risk, we work with them to make sure they adhere to the guidelines.”
Snooze Eatery is a popular chain of restaurants with 43 locations in the US. During one of the most uncertain periods for hospitality businesses, they used iAuditor to build up a culture of safety, consistency, and quality.
During reopening, the team created the brand new role, ‘Safety Dancers’, who are in charge of cleaning, sanitizing, and managing the capacity of the eatery. This meant that guests could trust the safety and cleanliness standards of the restaurant, and enjoy a cup of coffee in bliss.
iAuditor has allowed them to reassure their employees and guests during a time where trust in public spaces is low because of the potential health and safety risks. They also don’t just implement COVID-19 protocols with iAuditor—it’s a safeguard for food and service quality across all their locations.
—Katie Birner, Snooze Eatery Assistant General Manager
Get started with your business continuity plan by using pre-made industry templates you can customize and use on iAuditor. This free collection of BCP templates includes audit checklists to help you assess the effectiveness of your business continuity plan, keep it updated, and take action on areas for improvement.
Shine Colcol is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2019, mostly covering topics about health and safety, environmental, and operations management. She is passionate in empowering teams to build a culture of continuous improvement through well-researched and engaging content. Her experience in cross-industry digital publishing helps enrich the quality of information in her articles.
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