OSG’s Eastern production facility is three miles from MetLife Stadium so the Big Game between the Seahawks and the Broncos was top of mind the last few weeks. With snow and frigid temperatures a definite possibility, everyone was wondering if the game would be able to played as planned. Ultimately the weather conditions were not a problem and transportation moved relatively smoothly. But if the temperature had dropped or the snow that came the following morning had arrived 12 or 24 hours earlier, it would have been a whole different story. But the organizing committee members were prepared for any situation. They knew the importance of contingency planning and had prepared for almost any eventuality. Luckily they didn’t have to implement any of their plans.
It’s always gratifying when you don’t have to implement Plan B, but it’s important to have one just the same. While we always hope for the best, problems can pop up when you least expect them. That’s why companies should take the time to develop contingency plans.
So, how to start? Ask yourself and some key staff members, “What would we do if…” and then try to imagine some worst-case scenarios that could affect your business and begin to plan for how you would react if those situations were to occur. The problems don’t have to be monumental to cause upset. Mindtools.com offers up scenarios such as: “What if your main supplier suddenly goes bankrupt? Or, your entire sales force gets food poisoning at the annual sales conference? Or, your payroll clerk calls in sick on payroll day?
“These things can all cause confusion and disorder if you haven’t prepared for them properly. Contingency planning is a key part of this preparation. As you can see, contingency planning is not just about major disasters. On a smaller scale, it’s about preparing for events such as the loss of data, people, customers, and suppliers, and other disruptive unknowns. That’s why it’s important to make contingency planning a normal part of the way your business works.”
At your next team meeting, set aside some time to brainstorm. If you don’t have a meeting planned, schedule one now. Being proactive today could help you remain active in the face of a true disaster tomorrow.