In 2017, nearly every continent has been hit by some form of natural disaster: monsoons in South Asia, landslides in Africa, a tsunami threat to Central American, and hurricanes and earthquakes in North America.
No wonder a recent survey of 164 global CEOs conducted by PWC found almost 6 in 10 CEOs worry that their business continuity plans are out-of-date. No matter how confident you feel about your products, services, employees, and standing in society, today every company must prepare for crisis management.
Mobile Mini is no exception. In fact, the company’s vast geographic reach means their business continuity and moreover, their employee’s safety are at risk more often. This, among other reasons, has helped Mobile Mini build an "always ready, always safe" culture that fosters preparedness.
Being one of a handful of companies called on before, during and after a disaster to provide everything from temporary field offices, classrooms, and clinics to addressing waste removal, storage, and treatment, has given Mobile Mini a unique perspective.
"It didn't come easy," said Kelly Williams, Mobile Mini's Chief Operating Officer. "It's been an ongoing process and in some ways, we’ve had an unfair advantage. Our core business of guaranteeing on-time delivery and pick up of large portable storage and specialty containment units requires us to tightly manage logistics safely, while turning on a dime to meet the shifting needs of our customers. It's positioned us to be a trusted resource. We often urge our customers to proactively assess their risks."
"We have seen the price far too many companies pay when they are caught unprepared and have learned the value of over communicating and knowing when to mobilize," said Williams. "When disasters struck, from Texas to Florida, we were mobilized, positioned and ready for the hurricanes and floods that came and the clean up that followed. From regular communication from our CEO to inform and assure us our colleagues were safe, to sharing social media posts to raise funds for effected communities. We know the drill. Moreover, we have a drill."
According to the PWC survey, proactive preparation forces a discipline that lays the foundation for a company to emerge out of a crisis stronger in terms of revenue growth. Companies most prepared to face a crisis are led by proactive "courageous, and trusted" leaders who foster a sense of purpose and values, while realistically assessing risks and addressing weaknesses, both operational and reputational.
"We often urge our clients to look at the solutions we provide well before they need them to address both short-term resilience and long-term recovery," said Williams. "A wind and weather proof 100-gauge steel container with a patented, bullet-proof lock should be part of their business continuity plan. In case of floods or fires, what do you need to have on hand to be resilient? To have peace of mind? Back-up generators, back-up servers, supplies, batteries? Like our energy customers who always have back up chemical containment solutions, companies are having to play out worst case scenarios and leave nothing to chance."
Companies should be asking themselves the following:
- What is your level of risk? Is your company proactively identifying, mitigating and monitoring risk.
- Does leadership share the same vision and sense of purpose? Is your leadership committed to an organizational structure that empowers action and decision-making required in a crisis?
- Who is in charge? Is there a formal crisis command-and-control structure in place and are related roles? and responsibilities widely understood and Does everyone understand their role?
- Do you have the right blend of skills in-house? Do you understand your crisis capabilities and vulnerabilities and know where the gaps are?
- Do you have a crisis toolkit with processes, resources and technologies in place and understood?
- Has everyone undergone the battle-tested crisis drill?
- Is leadership positive and forward thinking? Are you continuously improving your crisis capabilities, especially in the wake of a crisis?
As a disaster recovery solution provider for government, social service agencies, and businesses, we at Mobile Mini encourage you to:
- Know your risks by state: https://www.fema.gov/data-visualization-disaster-declarations-states-and-counties
- Institutionalize a plan that addresses all three phases: the resiliency preparation before, the mobilization during and the recovery after any crisis;
- Know what your insurance covers, both from a recovery and a temporary housing perspective;
- Know what FEMA advises businesses;
- Know what your state's emergency services provide;
- Know what the Red Cross recommends for each type of emergency;
- Know how to report or enquire on the safety of others; and
- Be sure to reference FEMA's Business Continuity Plan as a great place to start.