New Zealand

5 Reasons to Create an Effective Business Continuity Plan

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Being predictive and proactive in every aspect of decision-making is crucial for business continuity and to build resilience in an age of constant change. However, simply adapting to the rise of dynamic technology and shielding your organisation against cyberattacks with next-generation security is not sufficient in preparing it to efficiently pivot operations when in uncharted territory. This is because beyond the commonly monitored risks, businesses are likely to experience significant disruption to their usual operations due to unforeseen circumstances. From shifts in consumer demands for top-notch delivery services to unprecedented economic consequences of a pandemic, these unexpected shockwaves leave businesses scrambling to react appropriately to avoid costly setbacks. As such, given a business’ susceptibility to a range of existing and emerging risks, developing a business continuity plan is of utmost importance for its survival. 

What is an effective business continuity plan?

Also known as BCP, an effective business continuity plan makes it easy for companies to resume, recover, and restore their operations to normal with as little downtime as possible. As part of an organisation’s risk management strategy, a business continuity plan considers unpredictable events of varying degrees – from minor to catastrophic ones. This company-wide implementation plan ensures that even the largest of organisations are prepared for a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world and remain viable in turbulent times. This is made possible through the application of appropriate response measures specific to the context and challenge at hand. 

What should a business continuity plan include?

Differing vastly from a disaster recovery plan that focuses on restoring operations and IT infrastructure, a business continuity management system looks at the uninterrupted continuity of an entire organisation. 

Containing all the information one will need to get their business running again after a crisis, the size and complexity of the BCP will vary from business to business. Comprising everything from a basic distribution list that details backup site locations to the fundamental incident response plan, it mitigates instances of business underperformance. 

Besides containing sections on plan activation, key communication methods, checklists of actions, and contact lists, BCPs will also include a recovery plan. Constantly reviewed and updated, a recovery plan outlines long and short-term strategies — of a realistic timeframe — for managing the disruption. Visit the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment site for more information on how to create an effective business continuity plan.

The importance of creating a business continuity plan

Economic survival often hinges on one concept — preparation. The COVID-19 crisis is a great example of a VUCA event that demonstrated the benefits of having a business continuity plan. Although it started as a health and safety crisis, it eventually evolved to have seismic impacts. Those who took the golden opportunity to launch e-commerce businesses during lockdown may have rode the wave of booming online sales. But companies that did not manage to find their footing in today’s digitised and globally connected world inevitably did not manage to escape unscathed. Therefore, when the pandemic hit New Zealand, business closures outnumbering the creation of new firms came as no surprise. And for the companies that rushed to keep their business afloat, years’ worth of advances in business digital transformation had to occur in mere weeks or months, or they risked losing an edge. Had businesses analysed potential areas of weakness pre-pandemic, rapid recovery would have been possible. Other benefits of having a business continuity plan include:

1. Minimise downtime 

The unexpected nature of a disaster or crisis makes skipping out on a BCP extremely expensive and reckless. According to a study by a data services company, IDC, the average annual cost of downtime for Fortune 500 companies in the United States can go up to NZ$3.93 billion a year. Though New Zealand businesses have not been surveyed, these figures suffice in demonstrating how severe things can get. How efficiently your business can get up and running to earn revenue again depends on your organisation’s quick response — otherwise, it may very well go out of business.

2. Protect important data

Cyberattacks on New Zealand businesses are becoming increasingly common and sophisticated. In 20221, according to the government’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT NZ), these attacks cost New Zealand companies NZ$3.9 million between the months of April and June. This calls for increased security preparedness to keep all the necessary data vital for business operations intact and safe. From confidential customer and employee information to other company assets, investing time into developing a BCP will ensure that the future of your organisation is secure. 

3. Retain a competitive edge

An efficient business continuity plan will show customers that your organisation is capable of restoring operations despite disruptions. Getting your business back on its feet swiftly will reconnect your employees with customers. This will have your organisation stand out as a leader that can be trusted and relied upon, reducing the likelihood of customers moving to competitors to seek in-demand services.

4. Preserve brand reputation 

A BCP will ensure that you can continue fulfilling customer expectations even during a crisis. This will preserve brand value and reputation amongst customers and the market as a whole. Results from the 2022 Annual Disaster Preparedness Survey conducted by the National Emergency Management Agency showed that only two in five New Zealanders felt prepared for a disaster. By taking a step back and evaluating your company’s strengths and weaknesses, the effective assessment of how a risk could impact your business, will make a world of difference.

5. Compliance with industry standards

In accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act, all employers in New Zealand are legally required to provide employees with the highest level of protection. For example, if a Work from Home Policy is in place, employers must comply with the latest employment laws. In such scenarios, without a BCP to address health and safety concerns, businesses run the risk of being prosecuted and fined for not protecting staff adequately. Hence, implementing a business continuity plan will establish that your organisation is compliant with industry mandates and regulatory terms. 

A reliable logistics provider like DHL Express can help with the establishment of a robust BCP. As experts in B2B and B2C international transportation logistics, DHL Express provides services that are compliant with industry standards, protect customer data and minimise delivery delays. Let DHL Express be a part of your business continuity plan by opening a business account today. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our team to learn how DHL Express can help your business.