Covid19 business continuity planning considerations

Effective leadership is the difference between business success and failure. Some leaders are already adjusting their financial forecasts to take into account the potential impact of #covid19. Strategic models must change.

Already, companies like Jumia that had failed to take off in Africa, are experiencing a surge in demand. People who had not appreciated online apps are now placing orders for home delivery. Business is booming.

Other companies, as part of diversification, are already investing in technology companies that enable remote working. Companies like zoom, which had a limited global reach and user acceptance, have registered a sudden increase in subscription. #covid19 is not doom and gloom through and through. Though the virus has caused the loss of lives, it has helped many countries and people fast track technology adoption by more than a year or two ahead!

The uptake of Internet and mobile banking has been very high since the lockdown. Online education is at its all-time peak. Teleconferencing and online meeting platforms have been embraced. And above all, countries in Africa are saving a lot of money in terms of per diems and health tourism, following the border closures as leaders rethink about investing in the local healthcare industry.

The local doctors are equally competent, all they lack are the appropriate facilities to conduct sophisticated operations and surgeries.

Despite all these benefits, some companies and organizations will find it tough to cope with the after-effects of the pandemic. Of great concern are the lost orders, factory machine idle time costs, fixed costs like rent, payroll staff salaries and committed expenses like loan repayments. This calls for a business continuity plan to prepare for the post #covid19 crisis. Covid19 presents a systematic risk to businesses. This means all companies in the same country, have been equally impacted.

Winning companies must plan now for resilience. Companies that fail to anticipate the post #covid19 period by doing nothing, risk experiencing very tough times ahead

What next?

Now is the time to think about conducting a thorough #covid19 impact analysis. The business impact analysis (BIA) considers how the #covid19 pandemic will impact on the critical business process and value delivery. This helps identify the key stakeholders and the critical capabilities – value delivery processes and the related people, assets, and technology that support them.

Who are your key stakeholders to fulfill? What are your core business processes that deliver value to your identified critical stakeholders and or customers? Which assets and people support them? Which process must continue operating?  Which people are key and must continue operating? What costs are needed to continue operations?

You are then able to know which staff provide functions that could be performed remotely and which staff must be physically present at the place of work to deliver value? How do you engage your IT suppliers and other suppliers to continue providing services to support your identified critical processes? And above all, what is your crisis communications plan? You want your stakeholders to be up-to-date about your plans to overcome the crisis.

Now is the time to start the #covid19 business continuity plan. And assume the worst-case scenario. Plan for what the business will do assuming no government support. And all committed costs are to be paid for.

Set up a remote working policy and hold staff to continue delivering value during this period. Those that are not embracing remote working technologies, could be candidates for salary reductions or termination. Much as it is a popular talk to say keep all the staff and pay them, if the company has no liquidity, and is due for collapse, it serves nothing. It is worse for the company to collapse than it is to adjust and continue operating.

The truth is, in times like these, staff must be given due consideration and supported. But staff too must be understanding and do their best to support the company to win. Now, more than before, teamwork wins. Depending on the situation, for companies badly affected like football clubs, staff – read players – are expected to accept salary reductions until everything recovers.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.

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