Business Continuity Planning: Ten Key Steps

  May 2, 2011

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor — Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip comes from a recent presentation at the NFMT Conference & Expo by Bob Mellinger, president of Attainium Corp. Mellinger outlines 10 key steps in developing a business continuity plan, or BCP.

Key 1: Obtain commitment from top executives. To sell top management on the need for a BCP, managers must engage people at all levels of the organization.

Key 2: Identify and quantify assumptions. Mellinger says the first step in this process requires managers to ask, "What are my organization's key business functions, and what functions are absolute for the organization." Managers need to determine the operations and functions their organizations simply cannot do without and build a plan around restoring those operations as soon as possible.

Key 3: Actively manage risk. To identify the potential threats and hazards that could impact a facility, managers first should consider the location of their buildings. Managers then can use an equation to manage the risk of a potential disaster. Mellinger's equation — Risk = Probably x Impact — helps managers determine the disasters or threats their BCP should address.

Key 4: Keep people safe and secure. No matter the actions managers take during a disaster, they should maintain focus on the health and safety of occupants and visitors, Mellinger says.

Key 5: Resume operations quickly and efficiently. The most important thing in a crisis is knowing the individual in charge. Mellinger suggests a chain of command that is six-people deep.

Key 6: Verify planning and validate its success. Drilling is the primary way building occupants will remember the proper actions to take in an emergency.

Key 7: Spread the word. Continuing with the communication theme, managers should develop awareness programs, involve everyone in the facilities, and collaborate with key departments.

Key 8: Maintain the plan and ensure it is accurate. Managers should make sure changes within the three pillars of an organization focusing on BCP — facilities, IT, and human resources — are reflected in the plan.

Key 9: Debrief, review and revise after each disruption. Taking a close look at disruptions will help managers determine if a trend is occurring.

Key 10: Don't panic. Regardless of how effective and comprehensive the BCP, panic can deal a devastating blow to all the hard work that went into developing the plan.


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