BIZTIPS - February 1, 2004

Biz Tips: “Be Prepared” - What’s Your Plan?
February 1, 2004
By Art Hill

Had it with winter? Tired of aerial photos showing freeway pile-ups and jammed truck stops?  Heard enough stories about peering through fog and skidding through the Gorge? What does it take to do business in this weather, or on “orange alert” for that matter?

If you can answer “no problem,” yours is among the few businesses unfazed by closed highways, delayed shipments, cancelled meetings, snowbound customers, absent employees, power failures, frozen pipes, tightened security, airport delays, and a horror show of other business interruptions.

This winter, it didn’t just happen to “somebody else.” Throughout our region, mechanics rescheduled appointments as parts shipments stopped. Diagnostic labs had courier delays.  Some hotels had increased occupancy while others had cancelled meetings. Manufacturing slowed as suppliers missed deliveries. Trains waited as ice made tracks impassable. Restaurants crossed selections off menus.

What can we learn from this or anything that interrupts our everyday flow of business? First - snow happens; so do fire and flood, terrorism and recession. Second - we have to deal with emergencies and get on with business. Third - and here’s the big one - planning goes a long way toward blunting the impact of even the worst business interruption.

So what’s your plan? What would you do if you couldn’t ship or receive for two days or two weeks; couldn’t serve a fraction of your normal customers; didn’t have power when you opened the doors; couldn’t make it for that deal-closing presentation?

Fortunately, help is available. Check the following websites and agencies for business interruption plan ideas, emergency services, even industry-specific information or (click “Downloads”).  Call insurers for precautions, risk assessments, and coverage or exclusions that save money and limit losses.

You may never be able to say “no problem,” but you’ll never have to say “if only we’d had a plan.”

Content © 2004 East Oregonian