Managing crisis, Coronavirus and terror attacks: What next?

With the growing Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, we look at how you and your business can manage a crisis.

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Written by: alcumus
16th March

There are as many optimists as there are more cautious minds in the world today, but it takes both for a business to achieve some definition of success. On the one hand, there must be a vision for the future and ambitious, hopeful targets in place that will push the enterprise towards its goals. But it would be foolish to ignore the what-ifs, the unforeseen delays and the potential knockout blows.
While pessimist is perhaps too strong a term for those who think about the things that could go wrong, it is that side of the table that can keep the boat afloat in a crisis. We are less than a quarter of the way into 2020, and already we have faced two big UK storms, a deluge of floods and the coronavirus. I don’t want to go into the details of those events in particular, but simply ask the question: are you prepared for anything?
A positive process of mitigation
Most large organisations utilise something called a Risk Register to help manage and mitigate risk within their day-to-day operations. It should identify potential problems, monitor compliance levels, establish protocols and lines of responsibility, and keep a record of incidents.
When certain accidents occur, companies are legally obliged to notify the authorities through some form of RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) reporting. Depending on the type, size and activities of an organisation, there are various other processes and regulations they must meet.
What continually surprises us, when it comes to the application of these processes, however, is how many large organisations still treat mitigation as a mere tick box exercise. You could claim this was positive mindset leadership: adopting an optimistic, let’s plan for the best and head for the horizon approach. No one would ever create a grand mission statement that ended with the phrase: and we have plans in place in case the sky falls down tomorrow.
But planning for the worst, and building a safety culture around it, could be the best thing you ever did.
How Heriot Watt turned terror into traceability, efficiency and peace of mind

Known for its international research for businesses, Heriot Watt University operates across three campuses, in Edinburgh, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. This means it continuously has staff and students working all over the world. Alcumus already provided multiple systems for the university built from our Info Exchange Risk Management Software solution: but the major terrorist attacks in Paris, in July 2016, highlighted another way that we could help.
Alcumus Info Exchange was set the challenge, to design a system that centralised and computerised travel data through the University. It was obviously a little more complicated than that sentence suggests, but now a single screen can tell anyone who needs to know exactly who is where at any single point in time. In addition to the safety aspects that the system was initially designed to fulfil, the university is now able to track upcoming trips, manage expenses and accommodation more efficiently and let the management know when people are safely back on their home campus.
After a subsequent terrorist incident, this time in Hungary, Dr Russell told us that the Paris attack resulted in two days of tracking and uncertainty, while this time their concern was eased within six seconds.

BCMS and ISO 22301 Certification
While we always promote culture change over ticking boxes, a strong standard is often the best way to measure the success of a developing health and safety ethos. To set that level and help our clients monitor their progress we have embraced the recently introduced International Standard for Business Continuity Management Systems: ISO 22301.
Through the ISOQAR side of our business we help organisations of all sizes to achieve this ISO standard for managing minor disruptions through to major incidents. Once qualified, it enables a company to respond and recover in the quickest, most efficient and least disruptive way possible.
To embed this into a business culture, we start with its requirements as a framework; then design the solution from scratch using our decades of experience. From there, we integrate the latest Info Exchange infrastructure with bespoke, fully configurable fields, forms, lookups, and reporting: all branded to look like the organisation.
If you would like to know more about Info Exchange Risk Management Software or ISO 22301 Standard and how it can turn the worst-case scenario into a business opportunity – get in touch at [email protected] and we will connect you with an expert in that field.