Planning for Business Continuity:  A Retrospective on Hurricane Irma

Planning for Business Continuity

A Retrospective on Hurricane Irma

By John Falconetti

You never know when disaster might strike, and as business leaders, it is our responsibility to be prepared.
Our Business Continuity Plan has been over a decade in the making, and one key aspect is that it is a living and breathing document. We plan for real world possibilities such as inclement weather and hurricanes, but also loss of services such as internet and/or telephones. We not only meet twice a year to review, but also recap after each time we enact the plan. We aim to get more detailed and effective at every possible turn.
In addition to continually updating the Plan, we also align our investments and business strategies in order to strengthen our business and minimize risk. For example, our clients benefit from our multi-plant strategy. Since we have production facilities in Jacksonville, FL and Atlanta, GA we can easily shift work as needed between plants. In addition, we have established a direct line for internet service between plants, and have chosen a second provider. This level of redundancy provides an invaluable back up function, ensuring that we can continue to serve our customers in the event of an outage at one location.
Recently, Hurricane Irma caused us to enact our Business Continuity Plan. As a result, we scheduled a series of structured internal and external communications with the following objectives:

  1. to ensure Team Member safety,
  2. continue to meet all client expectations, and
  3. safeguard Drummond assets.

Because we were prepared, we were able to close the Jacksonville operation in a manner that allowed our Team Members to seek safety for themselves and their families. Our proactive communication with our clients enabled us to shift time critical projects to Atlanta, so our clients were not impacted by the storm in anyway. And finally, our facility planning allowed us to avoid any damage whatsoever.
While we are thankful for these outcomes, we know that we must remain vigilant, continue to prepare for various forms of business risk and ensure the most stable and consistent platform for our clients.
Here are some observations that we will take into consideration as we update our plans to prepare for future events:

  • Our Facebook page was an extremely valuable platform for communicating with our employees and the customers who follow us there. We will continue to make use of this platform as part of our multi-channel communication plan. If you are not following us, please do so by clicking here.
  • The “early and often” approach we took to email communication was effective and appreciated by our customers. Group text is another suggested method which we will take into consideration moving forward.
  • Preparedness matters. We identified a couple of “minor adjustments” to our facility plan, including such things as: emptying freezer icemakers to avoid self-inflicted water damage; the importance of over-stocking sand bags; and taking into consideration the needs of family members who may be on site with our BCP team in the early hours after the storm passed (kids love coloring books!!)

To our customers, we say thank you. We are honored to serve you and hope that our Business Continuity Plan helped minimize the impact that Hurricane Irma had on your operations. To our employees, we say thank you. Your preparedness and willingness to pitch in is a testament to the “customer first” culture of Drummond.
We will be updating our plans appropriately, and in the event that another event occurs, Drummond will be at the ready with all hands on deck!!