Hi there! It’s 2020 and I can only hope there will be good things for the rest of the year. However, some big natural disasters have occurred more than once a year, so you may be concerned not only for your family, friends, colleagues, and supervisors’ safety but also your business.

Various disasters and predictable emergencies

Recently, there have been various disasters and irreparable damage occurring in Japan. In the future many lives could be lost, public transportation could be damaged and houses could collapse.

In recent years, it has become difficult to predict what will happen and where, so local governments in each area of Japan post hazard maps for disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes and heavy rain on their websites. I’d like you to see the hazard map portal site which covers each area of Japan.

Reference: Hazard Map (Japanese)
*The Japan Times posts a lot of hazard maps

Sometimes, I consider how to prepare for a disaster. Although I just have a bag of emergency supplies which I got from my supervisor at my previous company, some of my friends like to collect contingency supplies (portable toilets, paper underwear, etc.) at dollar stores and hardware stores and they will message me about the supplies they purchased via LINE.

Regarding other preparations, I often hear about are buying emergency rations and storing water.

On the other hand, you need to take measures against infectious diseases such as flu as well. If it becomes an epidemic all the employees in the company can be infected. If that happens the business may not be able to proceed and it could be suspended.

How does the company take measures to keep the business going at such situations?

The Typical BCP during disasters

In such cases, there is a business continuity plan (BCP). It basically means planning to continue business even if an emergency such as a disaster occurs.

For example, using your cell phone to inform of your safety, and telecommuting can be defined as part of a BCP. Companies that work on BCP are expected to keep their losses at a minimum compared to those that don’t.

I will explain the reason why BCP has become popular in Japan with the following quote.

As a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, many enterprises in Japan suffered serious damage from the massive tsunami and earthquake, and faced shortages of electricity, fuel, and so forth. Economic activities were affected not only domestically but also internationally through supply chains. It is important to learn from this disaster and to prepare for other disasters that are likely to occur in the future. Without effective preparation, the Japanese economy and society may face a crisis if disaster strikes. Even in normal times, without effective preparation, there could be a loss of confidence in the Japanese economy, a slump in purchasing and direct investment from overseas, a shift of production bases to overseas, and so on.

Excerpt: Business Continuity Guidelines ―Strategies and Responses for Surviving Critical Incidents― Third Edition

In other words, if BCP is established at your company, you will be able to continue to do the minimum amount of work whenever an incident happens.

Establish BCP for emergencies

Establishing a BCP will be effective in an emergency. Moreover, making a habit of practicing the BCP in your routine work is more effective because there is a possibility that the plans will not work out without becoming accustomed to them.

Incidentally, the BCP’s policy gives us a better idea of how to move the business in the future, so it is closely related to the company’s policy. Therefore, the person in charge of the management level of the company often develops the BCP.

In the “Business Continuity Guidelines”, it introduces the following strategies:


4.2 Examination of Business Continuity Strategies and Measures Enterprises should consider the following when examining business continuity strategies:

(1) Continuation or early recovery of the supply of critical products and services

(2) Ensuring core functions of enterprises
In addition, the following are also important:

(3) Maintenance of information and information systems

(4) Fund procurement

(5) Responses to legal regulations, etc.

(6) Securing consistency with activities of government organizations and social infrastructure operators

Reference: Business Continuity Guidelines ―Strategies and Responses for Surviving Critical Incidents― Third Edition

Repeated training is important

Daily preparation and training are important for developing the BCP. Some companies hold an evacuation drill every year and invite a person in charge of the fire department as a lecturer.

While making an announcement in anticipation of an earthquake as an audio alert, you can learn how to deal with situations such as bending over under the desk, and how to use an AED in case of an emergency.

Reference: What is AED?

The safety confirmation system for employees by notifying of their safety via mobile phones is also regularly conducted, consulting with employees who were not able to be contacted and changing how to communicate with them. By repeating those pieces of training you can find out what cannot be done and take measures in advance to make it possible.

Actually, Questetra BPM Suite can also establish a safety confirmation system with Team swimlanes. You set up the workflow where the section chief can check the safety confirmation of his members after receiving reports from all of them.

What is Questetra’s BCP

Questetra also practices BCP. Work is kept in the cloud so it can proceed as smoothly as possible even in the event of a disaster.

Questetra BPM Suite’s open chat system is implemented for important communication, so it is easy to search for an Issue by linking to it.

The environment for teleworking is also excellent, allowing us to work from anywhere. Furthermore, video chat is always used for meetings.

These three things are already practiced in daily operations. We daily continue to train and consider changes if there are problems in order to enhance business continuity as much as possible. We posted some blog articles about teleworking by an employee who has actually done so. You can read them if you’re interested.

Reference: The Company’s Teleworking Environment and My Job as a PTA President

Based on the BCP, consider what can be done through business improvement

Storing the data which is accumulated in your daily operations in the cloud in order to be able to hold a meeting and work anywhere and anytime is a way to be prepared.

I recommend you to convert paper documents to PDF and store them in the cloud. You can view the original documents and retrieve the documents you need. More importantly, it’s become paperless and environmentally friendly.

Summary

Recent earthquakes and heavy rains that have occurred all over the world can make us feel unsafe and worried about our work. In this article, I provided an example of BCP at Questetra.

Do you have any experience of confirmation or evacuation drills in your company? The practices of BCP shown in this article are valuable and will help you in times of emergency.

References

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