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Regardless of an organization’s industry, size or maturity, responding to the impact of COVID-19 is a complex and sensitive matter. During the initial Reaction and Resilience phases, it’s important to understand the implications of the current situation and adapt accordingly.

The most pressing objective should be to protect the health and safety of employees, customers and suppliers. Clear communication is key to arranging emergency measures and safeguarding everyone’s security and well-being. The organization’s operational and financial viability must also be carefully diagnosed and new policies, procedures and digital enablement tools put in place in order to enable the firm to operate in the altered business environment.

Pandemic planning as part of an overall resilience strategy

This guide serves as a checklist for businesses that are planning response strategies around the COVID-19 pandemic. It outlines actions already taken by organizations to date (as of March 2020), such as: establishing a Pandemic Planning/Preparedness Team consisting of executive-level members; reviewing a work from home policy; and developing communication vehicles and frequencies for employees, clients, regional offices, supply chain/service providers and Board of Directors.

The guide also suggests activities that should be performed now, during, and after a health crisis, such as closely monitoring announcements as reported by government and health organizations; as well as activities that should be performed following the event, such as reinforcing health guidelines and debriefing/discuss any lessons learned.

Supply chain: Beyond this challenge

In addition to the health impact of COVID-19, there are considerable commercial impacts being felt globally particularly in the supply chain. This current challenge can be used as an opportunity to gain deeper understanding of your organization’s strategic operations and supply chain, and in turn, to develop more collaborative and resilient relationships with critical suppliers.

Businesses with extensive presence in or direct ties to affected areas must take immediate actions to assess organizational exposure, positioning them to appropriately support key stakeholders, employees and customers. Beyond immediate actions, organizations should value the opportunity COVID-19 provides to reflect on the ability to navigate a crises and going forward, consider actions to increase agility and become more resilient in the future.

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