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Monthly Archives: April 2011

I see from the news that Toyota have halted output at five Europe plants for several days because of a supply chain disruption due to last month’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Toyota is a world wide company, but cannot continue to manufacture its vehicles following an incident that caused a disruption to its operations in one country.

Now, this is something that should be of great interest to BC practitioners throughout the world. What was the scale of incident that Toyota were planning to survive? Japan? Obviously not.

Now, call me simple if you like, but the chances of losing your manufacturing capability in a country like Japan must be pretty high. So why didn’t Toyota have a realistic plan to source components from somewhere else? Have they not heard of single points of failure?

Am I being too harsh? I’d be interested to hear from Toyota’s BC Manager.

The objective of implementing Business Continuity Management (BCM) is to improve an organisation’s resilience. The only way of really knowing if this has been achieved is to actually be disrupted by an incident, but this doesn’t happen too often and should not be precipitated just to find out whether or not your BCM implementation has been successful.

Most organisations measure their success by checking that their BCM process has been correctly implemented (such as complying to a standard such as BS 25999) and/or by undertaking a series of exercises. This is all very well, but it does not answer the question recently posed to me by someone from outside the Business Continuity industry, which is “What does a successful implementation of BCM look like?”

My answer to this question is that the organisation will have contingency plans in place  to enable it to survive a disruption to its operations (up to a defined maximum scale of disruption) that are up to date and work, response teams established that know what to do, and managers that consider the business continuity implications of all their decisions.