China's Coronavirus Reminded Me: Businesses Need a Business Continuity Plan.
No doubt the Coronavirus is sad and scary for the people of China and for those that have visited or worked in China. My deepest concern and hopefulness is for the people of China and those that have or may have been exposed to this virus. I myself have traveled to China well over 100 times in my career and have enjoyed the personal interactions and time there. And hope I get another opportunity, when the situation settles down.
What this situation reminded me of is the need to have a geographically diverse supply chain when temporary (hopefully) interruptions occur. In fact, I was having a discussion with a client just the other day on how they could quickly diversify geographically, so that they can minimize their supply interruptions and take care of their customers needs - It's going to be tough to do many changes quickly at this point in time given the travel restrictions and complexities of working in China at this stage.
However, businesses can be better prepared when such an event happens again (and it will) by spending the time now to develop a Business Continuity Plan that is working as a guideline every day when making decisions about the sources of your supply and manufacturing. Traditionally, companies have done "Disaster Recovery Plans". Alternatively, a Business Continuity Plan is an approach that guides decision-making now, largely to diversify your supply chain, so that when a "disaster" strikes, you already are working in a direction that mitigates your supply risk. Even the best "Disaster Recovery Plan" is very hard to deploy when there's really a "disaster". A solid Business Continuity Plan has already mitigated (diversified) your risk in your every day decision-making.