Often, techniques that are invented in one domain can be of use in another one too. If you’ve spent your working in life so far in business continuity, you may not have seen much of the lean approach that is frequently used in manufacturing.
The lean approach in general is one of continuous improvement with the aim of eliminating activities that add no value.
Over time, other sectors such as IT, banking and insurance have also started to adopt lean approaches. Here’s a glimpse of what “lean” might do to help business continuity.
Taking a lead from manufacturing, lean models define a number of different types of waste. In the examples below, parallels can be made with business continuity planning and management.
- Wasted transport and motion. If people, products or data are moved around without any justification, the time and effort are wasted. For example, don’t move physically staff to different offices if you can connect them and their terminals to backup systems via the cloud.
- Bloated inventory. Don’t store more copies of data or run more datacentres than you need.
- Put BC plans and responsibility at the sharp end, so that local teams can act without waiting for approval from higher up to ensure continuity.
- Excessive production and processing. In BC, avoid over-engineering responses to potential risks. You know you can’t do much against that (unlikely) meteor strike…
- Bad IT backup strategies, chronic supplier failure, and any other interruption just waiting to happen.
- Misused skills. For instance, because your BC plan fails to use the aptitudes of people best located to fix problems, or because it expects them to perform without adequate training.
Correcting these problems can have a positive impact in many areas.
Shortened time to switch to alternative operations in order to continue operations, cost reduction, productivity boosts, enhanced job satisfaction and improved safety are all possibilities for better business continuity in particular, and increased enterprise performance in general.