Strategies and advice for businesses to stay in control through COVID-19 and get ahead of the pack

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COVID-19 Business Continuity – 27th July

I’m here with the COVID-19 continuity update for Australian businesses on Monday 27th July.

In today’s briefing:
1. Calculating the possibility of COVID-19
2. How to prepare for full remote operations

1. Calculating the possibility of COVID-19 in Victoria

In Victoria, we are watching the numbers of new coronavirus cases on a daily basis. I think it would be prudent to have a look at the statistics.

Let’s understand the probability:
Population of Melbourne Metro and Mitchell Shire: 4.9 million
New cases in past 7 days: 2767
That’s an infection rate of 0.06%

For Tenfold clients who are running their businesses sensibly and maintaining hygiene best practices, the probability of a case of infection is low. Still, we need to be aware that it only takes one case of infection or close contact in your business to have a significant and immediate impact on your ability to operate productively.

The reason I bring this to your attention is to ensure that you are able to make informed decisions about how to adapt and keep your business going.

I’m cautiously optimistic that the introduction of mandatory face coverings will see the number of new cases start to decrease soon. However, hope is not a strategy. We need to prepare your business for full remote operations.

The need to move to full remote operations could come from one of these two events:
A. One of your employees being infected or being in close contact with an infected person;
B. The slim possibility of workplaces being forced to close due to a government mandate (sometimes referred to stage 4 restrictions in the media)

If event A occurs, you will need to immediately implement full remote operations. There won’t be any time allowed to get things lined up – you’ll have to mobilise at a moment’s notice. The better prepared you are now, the better your business will be able to continue to operate.

2. How to prepare your business for full remote operations

The following guide is to help you consider the main areas of your business that would be impacted by moving to full remote operations. Every Tenfold client’s business is unique so there’s no “one size fits all” checklist but this framework should serve for planning purposes for business continuity. Speak to your coach about your situation and plan.

I also recommend that once you have mapped out your continuity processes, you conduct a dry run. This will help you identify any aspects that you may have overlooked.

If you aren’t already operating in a full remote setup, the key continuity areas are:
1. IT: phones and communications, computers, printers, internet
2. Sales
3. Manual operations
4. Logistics for stock and equipment

1. Preparing your business IT: phones and communications, computers, printers, internet

The main continuity factor to consider is giving team members electronic means to communicate:
– What internet set up does each staff member have at home
– Can your office digital phone system be relocated to staff at home
– What tech is required for people to work at home – computer, printer, cables, mobile internet dongle, etc (consider a customised list for each staff member)
– Who will get IT equipment to your isolating team member/s
– If the isolating team member is not very tech-savvy, who will set up their equipment
When you’re considering the tech requirements for remote operations, avoid introducing new technology that people are unfamiliar with. It will slow your business down at a critical time if you try to migrate to new tech and learn new systems. If your staff member normally uses a desktop computer, they should keep using that at home rather than transitioning to a laptop.

2. Preparing for sales in remote operations

Consider the process of a sales enquiry or order that comes through your business if you’re forced into remote operations:
– Who’s answering the call
– How is the call being transferred/relayed
– How is the enquiry or order being captured: if there is an enquiry form or order paperwork, what happens with it, what are the current processes and how will they need to be adjusted for a remote setting
– Consider the steps and communications for processing the sale from end-to-end: quoting, estimating, purchase order, clarifying details, invoicing, payment.

3. Paperwork in your operations

Many businesses use manual systems like paperwork and whiteboards to operate efficiently. Consider if these manual functions get done in your business:
– Use of hard copies of plans (particularly for businesses in building/construction)
– Marking up notes on tenders
– Job cards, checklists, SWMS
– Whiteboards for scheduling jobs, mapping out project stages.

Where you currently rely on paper and/or whiteboards, think about how you could manage those processes if people are working in isolation.

4. Stock and equipment

If your business deals with equipment and stock, think about how you’d manage these logistics:
– How will you get equipment and stock to staff if your warehouse has been shut down for deep clean.
– If you have specialist equipment such as scissor lift or forklifts, or machinery such as CNC machines, and the person licensed to operate them is in isolation, consider a viable contingency plan;
– Who will coordinate logistics with suppliers, what protocols will need to be considered and implemented
– Inventory management: tracking levels, reordering,
– Restocking work vehicles and keeping track of materials used

These bullet points are not meant to be exhaustive lists; instead, they are intended to prompt your thinking about the core functions of your business that will benefit from forward planning.

Your Tenfold business coach is here to support business’ continuity.

Ash

Ashley Thomson B.Eng(Hons), Grad. Dip. Mgmt, MEI
Managing Director
Tenfold Business Coaching

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