Let’s face it- COVID -19 is creating havoc for many businesses. It is upending markets, impacting the travel and tourism industries, hitting the transportation industry and of course negatively impacting the world’s supply chain. It is a crisis. Which means, that companies must treat it as such. Instead of waiting for an official government proclamation that COVID -19 is now a pandemic, it is time to treat this as a serious crisis.
From a risk point of view, what should companies be doing? Well, it’s time to apply risk management processes. Such processes should seek to mitigate and minimize the impact of the COVID -19 crisis. Such processes can include:
– Mitigation of the spread of COVID-19. Does your company have processes in place to minimize the spread of the virus? How are you protecting your employees? Have you considered the HR issues you might face because of the rate of infection? These questions need to be considered.
– Business Continuity Plan. Have you considered a business continuity plan (BCP) to save the company or minimize the impact of the crisis? A BCP would cover the following steps:
1. Analysis- What aspects of the crisis could hurt the company and why?
2. Design- How do you design a response to the crisis? What measures should be created to address the threats?
3. Implementation- How do you implement the measures?
4. Testing- How do you test the Plan to make certain it addresses the threats?
In order to create and implement the BCP, consider the following risk management processes:
1. Assess the situation- assess the threats by setting goals and priorities
2. Identify all of the major risks
3. Do a risk analysis of the major risks identified by conducting a critical risk analysis
4. Implement a Plan that provides countermeasures to mitigate the major risks – i.e. an Action Plan
5. Review the Action plan to confirm whether it adequately addresses the risks and helps mitigate or minimize the risks facing the company.
It is uncertain how long COVID-19 will have an impact on the world’s commerce. However, if you take the appropriate countermeasures now and mitigate your risks the less likely your company will later face threats that could seriously impact it.