Many businesses have embraced lean manufacturing (or lean thinking) as a keystone for success in today’s global market to achieve a competitive advantage. By following five main principles: define value, map the value stream, build flow, establish pull, and pursue perfection, companies have been able to increase output, reduce costs, enhance quality, and increase profits.
When designing a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) for a Manufacturing company, the same principles must be considered.
If a disaster occurs, the enterprise’s emergency team must have a plan in place for restoring operations without sacrificing the quality or quantity of services provided to customers.
Some of the common factors that affect the manufacturing industry include logistical problems, IT infrastructure deficiencies, and faulty products that endanger safety. Any of these threats can be dealt with by crisis teams using common security measures that can be implemented invisibly from the customer’s perspective.
Whether caused by natural forces or human error, an outage can have far-reaching consequences for your business, threatening operations, incurring excessive costs, generating negative customer experiences – and even menacing your company’s reputation, as we have seen with some highly publicized large-scale outages recently.
It’s no wonder, then, that disaster recovery (DR) has risen to the top of manufacturing companies’ priority lists all over the world. Even though many companies are aware of the profound consequences of failing to have a disaster recovery plan in place, there is still some misunderstanding about what constitutes a sound disaster recovery plan. Common misconceptions, many of which are related to determining the downtime tolerance, may give business owners a false sense of security, leading them to believe they have a sufficient plan in place when, in fact, they are putting their company at risk.
Business continuity vs Disaster Recovery: What’s the difference?
Despite popular belief, the words Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery are not equivalent. Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC) are two distinct techniques that both play a key role in protecting business operations.
Business continuity plans detail how a company can operate before and after a disaster. It could include contingency plans that detail how the company will continue to function even if it is forced to relocate. Smaller interruptions or minor disasters, such as prolonged power outages, can be factored into business continuity planning.
Disaster recovery refers to a company’s preparations for dealing with a major incident like a natural disaster, flood, terrorist attack, active shooter, or cybercrime. DR refers to the steps taken by a company to react to a disaster and resume regular operations as soon as possible.
Disaster recovery plan: What should it contain?
We’ve created a Manufacturing Disaster Recovery Plan to help you prepare for the unexpected. It details the operational measures you’ll need to follow both before and after an emergency.
1) Mission-Critical Personnel & Responsibilities
When things go wrong, who is in charge? Team members and administrators may have to play various roles in the event of a disaster. This part of the strategy should include a list of all stakeholders, executives, and other staff who will be needed to make swift decisions in case of emergency. Outline each person’s duties as well as the important steps that must be taken.
To build a base for your manufacturing company’s contingency plan, start by mapping out business-critical processes, practices, technologies, and staff. These operations are the one that define the value of your business, and they must continue as usual even in case of emergency. After that, consider a variety of worst-case scenarios and come up with a solution for each. Take the case of a warehouse, for example. In case of a natural disaster, how does your shipping mechanism need to change? Is there a pandemic? Is there a fire?
2) Urgent Medical Response
If you believe in prioritizing your staff, you must consider how you will react during a potentially life-threatening disaster. Your employees may be severely injured on the job in the event of a major earthquake or tornado, for example. Consider what kind of services you should have on-site, how you’ll supply emergency medical equipment, and where injured employees will go to get the help they need.
3) Contingency Operations & Locations
This part of the plan covers what you would do If your entire manufacturing facility were rendered unusable. Is it possible for production to be resumed at another location? If so, where and how quickly could you implement this plan? All these aspects must be specified to the last detail, so nothing is left to be assumed. It is true that no one can absolutely prepare with perfection for every imaginable scenario. However, A good roadmap outlining precisely what would need to happen to resume operations in a number of emergency situations may be the difference between life and death.
4) IT Business Continuity
Whether internally or across a network of third parties, today’s manufacturing industry is highly dependent on data and technology. You must understand how an IT hazard could significantly interrupt your operations in addition to “traditional” natural disasters. This section should detail your backup procedures as well as the technologies needed to restore data, networks, and physical IT infrastructure quickly.
5) Equipment Asset Management
Equipment and inventory management is one of the most important aspects of any manufacturing disaster recovery plan. It is important that you keep up-to-date inventories of all corporate properties and equipment. Anything from the computers on your factory floor to the desks where your office workers work falls under this category. In addition to these comprehensive inventory lists, make sure you recognize the assets that are critical to the smooth operation of your company. Consider if you’ll substitute them if they’re lost or damaged unexpectedly.
6) Communication Methods
Consider what would happen if conventional lines of communication were to go down. How can staff communicate with one another in the aftermath of a tragedy, when vital decisions must be made? Should any employees have access to additional cell phones? How can the organization communicate with its employees? In this segment, you’ll describe how and with whom staff would interact in an emergency.
7) Document Storage
Aside from digital data, you must plan for how you’ll protect and restore critical paper files, in case there are any. It’s quite common nowadays for manufacturing companies to store old, yet important documents in boxes and file cabinets. What if those files get scorched in a fire? They would be gone forever. That’s why most businesses, not only manufacturers, store their data in cloud-based services, like the Microsoft 365 suite. Still, cloud-stored data is not 100% exempt of getting loss. Accidental or wrong-intended files deletion may occur, or even ransomware attacks that are on the rise these days. For those cases, third-party backup plans must be considered.
8) Plan Reevaluation Schedule & Point Persons
Just as the Six Sigma’s DMAIC Methodology dictates, every process must be evaluated periodically in order to test its performance and make improvements if necessary. Therefore, every business continuity plan should be checked and expanded on regularly to ensure that the information is correct and up to date. Dedicate a section to determine who will oversee writing and reevaluating the document, as well as how often they will do so. Even if you only have one person in charge of the strategy, collaboration with other teams is important. Consider assigning staff from each department to assist in the production of the necessary data and its prompt analysis, as outlined in the plan.
The primary goal of disaster recovery for every company is to keep operations running smoothly. While the average company is unconcerned about issues that threaten stability, waiting until a security breach or other disaster happens is just unthinkable. Maintaining a high level of reliability and accessibility is the best way to keep customers and gain new ones. Disaster recovery will save your company later, if you focus on it now. Contact us to start designing the IT disaster recovery plan that best suits your company