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Thinking Ahead: The Difference Between Success and Disaster in a Crisis is Preparation
Pallet Enterprise Publisher, Chaille Brindley, covers five keys preparation steps to prevent a crisis from turning into a disaster.

By Chaille Brindley
Date Posted: 8/1/2018

Disasters are never something you look forward to in life. But they can happen at a moment’s notice. And your culture of preparation will impact the outcome… guaranteed.

This issue of Pallet Enterprise features a number of articles dealing with disasters as well as plant safety. Giving how stressed everyone in the pallet industry is right now just to keep up with orders, it can be easy for advance planning to take a backseat. But if you ignore areas of your business for too long, don’t be surprised if it comes back to haunt you in the future.

The August issue includes a feature story on Relogistics and how its strong leadership responded to two major hurricanes and flooding in less than a month last year. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma provided an opportunity for Relogistics to tests its management and production personnel. Strong leadership from the top as well as effective communication made the difference. When I heard this story earlier in the year, I knew it was something that other companies should consider. Read this compelling story on page 42.

Also, this issue includes an article on how Paltech Enterprises worked with an adjuster to get the maximum insurance payout after a fire at its Missouri plant. Having the right consultants or suppliers can be a key part of getting back up and running smoothly after a crisis event. And when it comes to insurance, knowing what to say and how to document losses is crucial if you want to get paid appropriate compensation. See the article on page 50.

Jary Winstead’s column covers basics of safety gear, signage and emergency access. You can’t afford to ignore any of these areas. I suggest that you conduct a basic safety audit sometime in the next month just to see how your company stacks up. Read the column on page 24.

And when it comes to safety, every person needs to take responsibility for themselves when it comes to wearing and using the right safety gear. Find out more about what major vendors offer in our new Safety Gear Showcase on page 36.

Nobody likes to think about disasters. But if you are in the pallet business you can be impacted by anything from a fire to flooding to an IT recovery disaster to employee equipment sabotage or theft. Disasters are never convenient, but they will show how prepared you are in the case of a crisis.

The following tips are steps you should consider to improve your preparation and response to whatever business and life may throw at you.

1.) Create an Emergency Action Plan – This should be a document that you follow in case of an emergency. The Enterprise covered these in detail a few years ago. Read the article at http://palletenterprise.com/view_article/4150/Safety-Check:-Emergency-Action-Plans

2.) Develop a Communication System for All Employees and Plants – This should include contact phone numbers, email addresses and social media where management and employees can turn to communicate in the midst of a disaster. You might want to have a text message system that can easily send notices to employee cell phones. Quick communication was a key for reLogistics in responding to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

3.) Create a Crisis Response Team – This should include both management and production employees who are responsible, have efficient training and will be cool under pressure to provide effective leadership during an emergency. If you have personnel with law enforcement, medical or emergency response training, these people should be included in your Crisis Response Team.

4.) Drill and Audit Your Response – You should conduct some drills and evaluate your response. Do more than just fire drills. Consider drilling the following: fire, health emergency, data loss/server hack, or storm/hurricane (if in a coastal area). You might want to consider some other situations, depending on the risks in your area.  

5.) Task a Manager with Keeping Up on the Latest Emergency Response Procedures – Somebody on your management team should monitor websites and resources at least once a month for information to improve your safety and emergency response capabilities. If nobody is assigned to do this on a regular basis, it will get dropped.

So, are you ready? Being prepared isn’t just a motto for Boy Scouts. It is also a must if you want to respond appropriately to a crisis.

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Crisis Mangement