Offering his advice from a business perspective, Steve Turner, CEO of CMAC Group, the UK’s leading supplier of Ground Transport & Accommodation Solutions, shares his thoughts on what precautions and strategies companies can put in place to be more prepared in the future in light of the current situation.
Q1. How has COVID-19 pandemic affected CMAC’s operations?
Covid-19 has hit every business in some way or another. Our initial response was we needed to continue to support our customers and suppliers, so we knew we had to act fast. We operate across three sites in the UK and already have a number of remote workers within the business, this allowed us a quick but phased process of getting people into the safety of their own home and set up to carry on their duties as normal.
Q2. How can CMAC help the community during COVID-19 crisis?
Everybody needs transport. We are a reactive business and in circumstances such as the one we face today; our instinct is to help and support customers in anyway possible. We have reached out and provided support to the NHS, Police and Armed Forces to mobilise and accommodate people from all corners of the UK. We have already developed bespoke technology and teamed up with Conclusio, community pharmacies and an independent pharmacy chain to support the delivery of pharmaceuticals and PPE, as well as working with the Home Office and other charities moving key workers and delivering essential items.
Q3. How is CMAC helping to keep employees and suppliers safe throughout the pandemic?
Repetition is Reputation. This is a common theme we try to uphold in everyday life within the CMAC Group. Throughout Covid-19 we have tried to find a balance of applying common sense along with standard practice to make sure all our supply chain and employees understand what’s needed when it comes to protecting themselves and each other. Human nature tells us that people don’t necessarily like change, therefore when change is needed for the greater good, it’s imperative to keep feeding out positive messages on what we are doing as a company but to also ask those individuals how they are coping with change, all of which is a key factor in protecting our mental health and well-being. It is essential we repeat this message on a semi regular basis against what the government is asking of us to support the wider nation. The end game? For everyone to come out this situation stronger.
Q4. How to do you think the current situation is going to affect the travel industry?
I personally feel the travel industry will come out of this stronger and more resilient. Under unprecedented circumstances, lessons will be learnt from both business and individuals within those businesses. I believe people will reflect on this experience in great depth, but ultimately, they will be looking forward to getting back to normality – not to mention needing a holiday!
Q5. What advice and support can CMAC offer to businesses to assist them in establishing robust Emergency Response and Crisis Management plans for activation when incidents occur which impact on their people and business operations?
The way in which businesses view the world certainly won’t be the same after Covid-19 has passed. There will be a stronger understanding of the need to pro-actively consider and document Emergency Response and Crisis Management plans, not just for pandemics, but any type of incident which adversely impacts on business operations. Bringing the right people together with a blend of sound business knowledge, a mix of skill sets, a Crisis Management framework and key task check lists to enable a swift and effective response to incidents when they occur, is exactly what Emergency Response and Crisis Management planning is all about!
Q6. How can CMAC assist businesses in developing and implementing Business Continuity plans which enable effective and focused recovery of critical business operations when incidents occur?
Business Continuity (BC) plans are exactly what it says on the tin – A document which defines how and where your business will get back up and running when incidents occur, ensuring the business can continue to operate. With the right level of pre-thinking and a practical approach, the BC plan focuses primarily on the recovery of your critical business activities. It’s not about planning for ‘Business as usual’ because let’s face it, dealing with incidents is anything but! We will help analyse your business operations, if key activities cannot be performed (for whatever reason) we will assess the impact on business processes. We then devise a plan and strategy for recovery within the desired time-scales, to minimise adverse impact on your people, revenue streams, regulatory obligations and ultimately, your reputation. I believe people will reflect on this experience in great depth...
Q7. What additional support can CMAC provide to businesses to assist them in implementing well-considered business recovery strategies and solutions as part of a robust Business Continuity plan?
A key component of your Business Continuity plan is the need to identify specific strategies and solutions to support recovery of your identified critical business operations. For example:
- If your primary workplace is unavailable, what are your minimum staffing needs and where will those people work? If your staff cannot work effectively from home, do some need to travel to an alternate work or third-party office location and if so, how will they get there? Do you need to implement a Logistics Plan with a provision for transport and accommodation?
- Do you know who your critical third-party suppliers and service providers are? If so, are you confident of their resilience capability to maintain essential contracted services to you, their Customer? Do you need to identify workaround strategies to ensure services are maintained via your primary supplier or any alternate?
- Does your business rely on access to critical IT applications and data? If so, have you sought reassurance that those applications are sufficiently resilient and that plans are in place to enable IT recovery within required time-scales in the event of an IT outage?
Our Professional Services team has a wealth of operational resilience experience gained across a range of both regulated and non-regulated industry sectors. Our aim is to understand your resilience needs, we work closely with you whether that be a one-off or longer-term engagement to achieve your operation goals.
We’re here to support you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, our people are the backbone of this company and they will make sure your Operational Resilience Programme is truly embedded through ongoing training and exercise regimes.