With the recent flooding in the UK, and the potential for more, it’s important for business owners to take some time to figure out how poor weather conditions could affect their business, and what steps they can take to minimise disruption.
Storms, gale force winds and torrential rain can wreak havoc on business continuity: trees get blown over and block roads, driving conditions can be hazardous, and some workers may not even be able to leave their homes in the first place. All of this can add up to disastrous consequences if a contingency plan isn’t put in place.
The most important thing to bear in mind during adverse weather conditions is good customer service. Even if it’s not possible to offer the usual service and stick to arrangements, customers should be kept fully informed. If lack of customers is the problem during bad weather, it’s a good idea to set up a website to allow people to buy online, and to offer discounted rates to those who can make it in person.
Some workers may not be able to make it into the workplace in poor weather. This could be due to their road being blocked, their car suffering damage, or a personal injury, but without workers it’s impossible for a business to run efficiently. There are many ways of dealing with these situations and a number of products out there to help you stay in touch with your staff should you need to for example an email to sms system that allows you to contact a number of people at once from a centralise system.
Delayed shipments and damaged goods are all part and parcel of adverse weather conditions. Products stored on site could be ruined by flooding or damaged by the impact of a fall. Deliveries of new products may be delayed or damaged on the road, as the driver may not be able to make their way to your location or they may suffer an accident on the journey.
Customers may be unable to visit and therefore make purchases during bad weather, or they may simply decide to cancel an order because they don’t believe they will be able to collect it. If deliveries have been arranged, they may be delayed and anything sent in the post could also suffer a delay. Damaged phone lines could mean it’s difficult to get in contact with customers too.
It’s important for business owners to have details of everyone and everything they could need in an emergency, and to have the potential to work remotely if necessary. This way they will be able to make arrangements to keep the business running as smoothly as possible.
The business owner should have contact details of all staff so they can get in touch and arrange cover where needed. All staff should be trained equally so no single member of staff is relied upon to make sure the job is done properly and, if possible, staff members should be able to work remotely.
Essentials products and supplies should be stockpiled: an insulated, well-protected warehouse is a good idea for housing extra stock, although of course this isn’t possible with certain perishable goods.
It’s crucial to put together a contingency plan in advance of adverse weather conditions in order to preserve business continuity as well as possible.
Ursula Jones writes on numerous topics including using technology such as email and sms for small and large businesses and how it can support business continuity, for more information on these services see http://www.pageone.co.uk/services/connect/email-to-sms