People are what make Los Angeles distributors work. Information, whether sales, merchandising, support, shipping or accounting, needs to be continually available to them.
So does a suitable place to work, whether it’s a warehouse for managing stock or an office with the connectivity for contacting resellers, end-customers, and suppliers.
Technology supports your staff and your processes in all of the above to make sure that a distributor “can take a lickin’, and keep on tickin’.”
Tip 1. Plan for the outcome, not for the cause.
Don’t plan for meteorite showers or giant armadillos burrowing into your company compound. Plan for their impact: for example, loss of your primary data center or unavailability of your main cloud connection.
Tip 2. Concentrate on the highest priorities.
In business continuity planning, don’t automatically think ‘biggest server’. Think critical business processes and most needed data. Cash flow is usually critical. That suggests giving sales and accounting staff priority treatment if choices have to be made.
Tip 3. Resolve single points of failure.
Any single point of failure is bad news, whether it’s a person, a server, or any other resource. Servers can be made to work together through virtualization. Communications links can be multiplied using different channels. That way, you’ll always be sure of having something instead of nothing.
Tip 4. Align your business continuity spending with your priorities.
Data backup is an example. The most important applications may justify full cloud-based replication with hot stand-by servers ready to take over in a fraction of a second. Other applications may tolerate longer recovery times and greater periods of potential data loss.
Tip 5. Stay compliant.
Your industry sector may be regulated. If so, make sure that your business continuity solutions are within bounds: for example, with guarantees that data will remain within your national boundary if this is a requirement.
Tip 6. Test your business continuity procedures.
Whether data backup and restores, or employee procedures to maintain productivity, it all needs to be tested. Too many enterprises draw up detailed plans, fail to test them and find out too late that the end result is unworkable or insufficient.
Tip 7. Go upstream and downstream too.
The best business continuity planning possible for your own company will be of no avail if your suppliers fail. Likewise, if your local resellers are out of action because of an earthquake you’ll need to plan for other outlets to be available.
Tip 8. Train your staff.
Procedures may change temporarily for business to continue. That means making sure that people know how to switch for example from office working to home working. To be sure of that, train your staff and test your procedures with your employees.
Tip 9. Look after the paper basics too.
Make sure that you also protect essential paper documents, including supplier contracts and employee information. Keep them in a container you can grab in a second if you have to, and that is fireproof and waterproof too.
What is the biggest business continuity challenge you have faced so far as a Los Angeles distributor? Share your story with us in the Comments box below.
And to follow through on the tips presented in this article, download your free guide, How COOs at Los Angeles Distributors and Manufacturers Get More Done: A Guide to Productivity, Data, Staffing, Delegation, and Making It Home for Dinner Most Nights.