Lockdown Lessons: Business Contingency Measures Can Help Get Over the Crisis
SME World|September 2021
The nationwide Tlockdown in the past two years has severely dented business and the economy, and micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs) were the worst hit. In April this year, the Confederation of All India Traders estimated that the daily business loss due to lockdown in Delhi is around INR 6 billion. At an all-India level, this translates into around INR 300 billion, considering full and partial lockdowns, night curfews and other forms of restrictions.

The disruption caused by the pandemic has underscored the importance of having a contingency plan in place to handle a crisis. The Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME) is in the process of educating businesses on the importance of a business continuity planning (BCP) and noting that SME associations of Korea and Taiwan have managed the situation better owing to advanced technology and skilled workforce – FISME has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with these associations for exchange of knowledge.

BCP measures that may help

Have a BCP in place before a crisis hits: Put a core team in place for identifying events that can create a potential crisis. This is the first step – the team should comprise people from multiple verticals to enable domain-specific concern areas. Having those will help to prepare a holistic business continuity plan. Besides, make sure mock BCP measures are conducted at least once a year to help employees react in less time.

Preparing the infrastructure: Identifying critical staff and planning their deployment is one of the most important parts of BCP and its execution. Depending on their requirement in the facility, identify staff that can work remotely. If the IT systems are run by a vendor, learn their BCP and how they plan to address your concerns in case of an emergency. Upgrade the tech infrastructure of the company to enable staff work remotely – surveys have found that about half of companies in the UK were not prepared for the transition to working from home and only 39 per cent had the technology in place to enable this.

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