Home Business Insights & Advice Six worthwhile areas of contingency planning

Six worthwhile areas of contingency planning

by Sarah Dunsby
10th Jan 24 6:32 pm

A contingency is a plan you make in case your foremost plan doesn’t go… well, to plan. In other words, it’s important to consider what could go wrong before it does and trying to predict the unpredictable. That might seem like a gargantuan task in business planning, but it often renders results.

For example, one of the strongest questions put to many industries right now is – what if AI helps accelerate our competition? Should we be integrating those tools to help us get an edge before anyone else can?

It’s a new and novel time for many markets, and who knows what the promise of 2024 could bring? Thankfully, if you try to foresee certain outcomes and plan realistic and comprehensive contingency backups for them, then you can, at the very least, say you never took success for granted.

But as all companies only have a certain amount of resources to dedicate towards certain priorities, considering which contingencies to plan for can be a dizzying process. How are we to get started with such a focus in mind?

In this post, we’ll consider the six most applicable areas for this need. Let’s consider that, below:

1. Assess risks in supply chain and logistics

There are always risks in the supply chain, the biggest among them being a shortage of whatever product you need. In some cases this can stall entire industries, such as when microchips were in short supply during the COVID years, leading to many tech manufacturers to pause production for a while.

Depending on the business you run and the purveyors you utilize, it’s important to set up backups where you can. This can go for every industry, even if they’re not involved in what we might term “traditional manufacturing.” For example, think of a chef who uses both a fish buyer and also a local market to make sure they have the salmon they need that day.

No matter your enterprise, be that purchasing paper for your printers, coffee cups for your refreshment room, or batteries for your film-making equipment in your marketing department, assessing appropriate risk and planning several contingencies can help you avoid being caught high and dry. Of course, if all those backup plans fall through, then your competitors are in the same scenario you are.

2. Develop a communication strategy for crisis situations

If there’s one thing about markets and life in general, it’s that both are unpredictable. You never know where the next aforementioned shortage could come from, if a natural disaster could impact your operational capacity if your premises will be condemned due to shoddy craftsmanship, if your entire team will take ill at once, and several other impactful scenarios you’d have rather not dealt with.

Developing a communication strategy for these crises, both internal and external, is important. This way, you can at the very least bring people together on the same page, while also outlining your next steps as more information comes in. This can help you better navigate a crisis, from a data leak to your website becoming non-operational. Sure, it’s best if none of that happens, but it’s always important to plan your communications in the unhappy scenario it will.

3. Recruitment gaps

It’s easy to take your team for granted now, but even if you do everything right, they may not stick around. Perhaps a colleague of yours will find another job elsewhere, decide to move away from your city or enjoy a change of career direction. They’re completely within their rights to do this, of course, and so it’s important to have a robust recruitment process in place to help replace them where needed.

That might involve setting up worthwhile internal hiring systems, or temporary coverage agreements to make sure that the bottom doesn’t completely fall out of the work to be done. Working with colleges and recruitment centers could also help you fill the position more easily. If you’re looking for a high-skilled individual with plenty of specific experience, then using headhunting services for the top jobs can also be worth the commission. Having a system in place you can immediately execute should someone write to you about their intent to leave can help you avoid wasting time, but without skipping over vital elements of the process.

4. Plan for IT infrastructure failures and data loss

There’s an old fear about the need for constant digitization, often explored through sci-fi fiction, where humanity loses much of its history in an event that wipes all computers clean. Of course, we’ll all have bigger problems if that comes to pass, but that doesn’t mean a fragment of that outcome can’t affect modern-day businesses.

From remote work to cloud storage, data protection to cybercity updates, entire firms can be run using tools that mean we no longer have to feel chained to the office. But it’s important that we no longer place all our eggs in one basket – just in case.

This is where the use of Managed IT Experts not only serves as a vital function but an added contingency, as they help you store data in multiple secure places, ensure your web hosting is bulletproof, and take a mature approach to the cloud while also retaining security. Using a reliable business that offers a scaleable package can help you rest easy knowing that if that strange solar flare happens, your business will be among the last vestigial remains of human life.

5. Implement workplace safety protocols

You’ve no doubt hired your current team because they’re smart, effective, interested, engaged, capable and, quite simply, good to work with. But that doesn’t mean they can’t make a mistake. Even the most brilliant person can put on their shoes on the wrong feet one day a year.

This is why safety testing and robust security planning should not only be effective, it should be utterly ensured from every angle. From making sure accountability measures are heightened regarding safety equipment to lighting systems being inspected regularly in your warehouse, safety must be continually audited through a robust system to ensure you don’t even risk the chance of harm in your business.

A good example of this is how many restaurants will use a third-party auditor to come in and inspect them for health and hygiene so that when the real health inspectors turn up, they’ll have been so well-worn in good practice that no issues are raised. Implementing workplace safety protocols allows you to do and give your best, while also benefiting the most.

6. Establish health and wellness protocols for employees

Employee wellness and satisfaction is not always a conventional area for business contingency planning, which is why we feel it’s necessary to include it here. But how can you backup plan to make sure your staff are happy? Surely that’s nothing but a subjective outcome to reach, and not always determined by your workplace?

Well, you may be surprised. For example, if your product cycles often find that crunch and overtime are expected at the end of the quarter to get an order out of the door, you might better restructure your approach to delivery and widen your deadlines. Project management will always have contingencies involved in their planning, and of course, that can affect the wellbeing of your staff.

This way, you can correctly spread the amount of work to make sure it’s achievable and at the same standard your company is known for. You can also invest in programs like wellness, fitness, mental health, and restorative programs, including maternity periods and bereavement policies for example. The more you focus on the human factor of your business, the more skilled talent will hope to work for you.

With this advice, you’ll be sure to implement contingency planning in the most necessary areas of your firm.

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