New award recognises business readiness

Big disasters don’t generally offer silver linings – but Taranaki businesses taking steps to be ready for the worst now have a chance be rewarded for their effort and foresight.

Business continuity is a new category in this year’s TSB Taranaki Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards – with sponsorship from Taranaki Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group.

“Business continuity planning is important,” says CDEM Regional Manager Craig Campbell-Smart. “Large-scale disasters can happen any time and they can hit businesses hard – severe disruptions to production and service delivery, significant losses of stock and revenue, and distortions in customer demand.

“Business continuity planning is all about resilience for our community,” he says. “If business owners are resilient, it will help us all to weather the issues we can expect to experience into the future.”

He points to the New Plymouth water crisis earlier this year, when a fallen tree damaged a critical pipeline supplying a large proportion of the district’s water supply.

“An event like this can have a major impact on local businesses, including cafes, hairdressers and retirement villages, to name a few,” says Craig. “Without clean drinking supply and sanitation, there are significant health risks for businesses and school closures that impact on their staff who have children. There are lots of inter-dependencies.”

The obvious impacts of large-scale disasters include power outages, damaged buildings and roads, and loss of phone and internet services. “These are just the tip of the iceberg,” says Craig. “Essential services could be down for days or even weeks. A business continuity plan is a way to think about all the possible business-critical functions you have, and to put some mitigation strategies in place so that you can continue to operate if things fall over in a big way.”

To enter the awards, go to www.taranakibusinessawards.co.nz (external link)

If you haven’t started your business continuity planning yet, the Taranaki CDEM website has downloadable documents to get you started: www.cdemtaranaki.govt.nz/tips-for-organisations/ .