South African business environment is getting more and more hostile and challenging to function in. With the current unrest, looting, taxi violence, electricity load shedding, water interruptions and COVID-19 restrictions we have been tested to a point where a normal business must consider its future and how to operate in this environment.
There are numerous ways to adapt your business to ensure it can function in this new South African environment. Some of these would be to provide own electrical generation with implements such as solar panels, to provide own water supply using boreholes and water storage tanks and to introduce a staff buss to transport own staff, etc. to just name a few.
As with everything we do, we start with a risk assessment to determine the possibility and likelihood of a possible risk and then consider the possible controls to ensure business continuity in these challenging times. The risk assessment will require a contingency or continuity plan from your business.
The focus of this blog is to take a closer look at a contingency plan.
Defining a Contingency Plan
A contingency plan is the planning process in which business stakeholders work together to identify potential business risks and emergency events with the aim to develop a shared understanding about the risk and possible controls required to manage the emergency.
The plan is a guideline and think tank which should be used when an emergency requiring contingency occurs. The plan will be adopted as the events unfold.
Developing a Contingency Plan
Set-up a contingency team to represent all stakeholders (e.g. management, shareholders, staff, unions).
Conduct a business risk assessment and consider the likelihood that the risk may materialize and the impact it could have on the business.
Create controls to mitigate the risks starting from the highest to the lowest. These controls become your contingencies.
Identify early warning signs to activate the contingency plan.
Test, review and monitor the contingency plan annually and after each event.
Significant Risks which may impact the continuity of the business:
Pandemics and Epidemics (e.g. Ebola, COVID-19, Meningitis, Smallpox)
No Water supply (e.g. shortage of water)
No fuel supply (e.g. no diesel for trucks)
Electrical supply outages (e.g. Load shedding or blackouts)
Loss of Computerized Functionality (e.g. internet access / Wi-Fi / Broadband / Own servers)
Loss of productive man hours (e.g. continued strikes, riots)
Loss of Skilled Employees in Key positions (e.g. Specialist in a specific field)
Loss of facilities (e.g. fires, landlord evictions, riots)
Catastrophic accident (e.g. multiple fatalities, destructive fires, bomb explosion, major spill)
Natural disaster (e.g. floods)
Riots, strikes, Looting