Business Continuity Helps Business Defend Against Mother Nature

What is the importance of a Business Continuity Management (BCM) plan? Just ask Siam Cement Group (SCG) in Bangkok, Thailand. After a two-day disruption of business for the company during the May 2010 Red Shirt Riots, SCG realized that a contingency plan needed to be developed in case of future disaster or crises.

Taking about seven months to complete, BCM’s continuity plan was soon put to the test after flooding devastated Bangkok. Being prepared allowed the company to perform well and remain active even as flooding hit the areas in which it operated.

During the flood, the company’s new BCM team assessed information about which routes were threatened by flooding or those that might become threatened, and then set operational plans accordingly. With a teleconference occurring each day between SCG’s president and the acting managing director at each subsidiary, the disaster situation was communicated effectively and all team members were kept up to date.

According to a report by www.bangkokpost.com, the mark of a good BCM plan is one that asks each business unit to develop differing levels of preparedness based on the severity of the situation, and also to come up with appropriate reactions.

SCG’s own response to the flooding was to evacuate all but essential personnel from their Bang Sue headquarters, an area hard hit by flooding. Relocated to Rayong, operations were allowed to continue thanks to the newly created BCM plan. Even before this relocation, a war room had been set up in a Bangkok hotel in October, which monitored the flooding situation.

The mobile headquarters is expected to remain in operation until the end of November, at which time its Bang Sue headquarters is expected to reopen.

One important lesson learned from the current situation at SCG … communication and lines of command are the most important factors amid a crisis. It must be clear who is in charge so that staff does not panic and can still perform their duties.

For more information about how SCG effectively operated during recent flooding in Bangkok, visit: http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/economics/266106/ready-for-anything