Pre-Planning is Key
Disaster recovery is something we all need to be prepared for, in 2017 alone, we witnessed a number of natural disasters; from the wildfires in California to the hurricanes that ravaged much of the Southern US and the Caribbean; to the earthquake in Mexico, and the flooding and mudslides in Bangladesh, Colombia and Sierra Leone.
Much of the news coverage has been – rightly – focused on the human and environmental impact, though often with little to no follow-up on the extensive time and resources needed to restore homes and businesses to a live-able or work-able state. In the case of Hurricane Harvey – the massive 27 trillion-gallon rainfall that caused extensive flooding in and around Houston, Texas and more than $150 billion in damages(1) – it took weeks and months for the city and its surrounding area to become fully functional again.
Resuming operations after such an event can be made easier with adequate pre-planning, and partners with the ability to move quickly under stressful circumstances. A big part of a company’s risk analysis and disaster recovery plan must include a sound risk reduction strategy, including the role an experienced depot repair vendor plays in quickly transferring operations on your behalf from one facility to another when needed.
A Good Back-Up Plan
As companies continue to streamline their businesses and reduce operating costs, many have gone the route of consolidating and centralizing repairs with one global partner, to leverage savings by putting volume through a limited number of locations. It’s a decision that mostly works – until disaster strikes in the form of Mother Nature and an important component of their operations grinds to a halt. And though many global partners provide the benefit of multiple locations, redundancy is only really accomplished if these locations can operate independently, and it has the ability to act as a backup facility without relying on the systems or people that might be comprised by a disaster.
In evaluating a Depot Repair partner for this worst-case scenario, a customer should consider this:
Does the partner have locations that are independent in these important areas?
• Facility, or equipment and resources capable of handling a sudden increase in required capacity?
• Trained technical personnel that can pick up the work with minimal guidance or input?
• Local admin and decision makers who have authority to act quickly and decisively?
• Parts available in inventory to meet increased demand?
• Transportation that can scale to accommodate needs?
• Access to processes for rapid and easy take-over?
• Standalone hardware, ERP and subsystems like EDI links that are capable of standing alone? If a single sub system is channeled through the disaster facility can another location access that sub system?
• Financial implications – can the working facility function if all finance is in the disaster facility?
Hallmarks of a Good Partner
The strengths and capabilities of a chosen repair partner is a key element to your company’s Risk Redundancy and Disaster Recovery strategy and should be counted on to quickly step in to ensure the smooth operation of your impacted business. Search for a partner that;
• Has a global solution that allows your business to leverage cost savings
• Possesses processes and know-how shared openly between locations
• Has relationships in place to facilitate transfer of work and startup in different locations
• Operates as one cohesive, global organization with processes, expertise and quality reporting
• Has geographically dispersed facilities that limit exposure of any one natural disaster affecting multiple sites
• Has locations that run standalone systems and hardware that are adaptable and can be turned on quickly and locally
Ultimately, if one location is comprised by natural disaster without warning and completely shut down, can your repair operations continue with minimal interruption from one of their other locations? It’s great to be single-sourced, but don’t fall into the trap of being sole-sourced. Work with a repair partner that has truly independent facilities.
(1) Carlson, Debbie. (October 10, 2017). “Houston Will Get Hit With Another Harvey. Now’s The Time For It To Prepare”. Huffington Post.
Chris Rathgeber leads TSC Canada and is also the CEO of Memofix, a Toronto headquartered company specializing in depot repair and reverse logistics.
Jo Jo is a marketing professional with over 18 years of experience in the technology and video game industries. She is the consultant-owner of j2 Marketing, providing a broad range of marketing services – from strategy and brand development to campaign design and delivery – to small and mid-sized companies.