In these turbulent times when the business environment is characterized by uncertainty and fraught with risks of all kinds, companies have to plan for contingencies and emergencies. The disaster preparedness that companies exhibit goes a long way in making them adjust to the changing circumstances when disaster strikes. For instance, companies may have to deal with natural and manmade disasters like earthquakes and terrorist attacks. Around the world, different countries have differing risks and hence, companies have to ensure that their disaster preparedness is according to the specific risk that the location and the region in which they are based carries. This is particularly true for multinationals that operate in several countries and where they have to tailor their business continuity plans according to the location.
For instance, Citibank has a disaster preparedness plan for all its locations worldwide depending on the specific risks that each country poses to its operations. In Indonesia, the bank has an emergency plan to cover earthquakes and other natural disasters whereas in countries like India, the bank budgets for strikes and civil unrest as well.
Hence, it is in the nature of things for these companies to ensure that their disaster preparedness is global in thought but local in execution. This Glocal component which means that global companies have to adapt to local conditions is a necessary precondition for the multinationals before they start operating in the various countries across the world.
Further, business continuity plans world over differ greatly in their focus and scope. For example, in Singapore, most of the major IT companies like IBM do not have to plan for power outages and disruptions to basic services as the infrastructure there is world class and fail safe. On the other hand, in countries like India, the IT majors have to take into account these considerations as well. Further, these companies have to ensure that their communications systems work in case of an emergency as is the emphasis on ensuring that the mobile service providers ensure uninterrupted service. These considerations are largely absent in Scandinavian countries and in countries like Japan and South Korea.
Of course, in recent years countries like the UK have witnessed civil unrest as well and hence, it is by no means conclusive that the Western countries and the countries mentioned above would be free from chaos and disorder that is manmade. Hence, the key take away is that companies have to be prepared for the worst wherever they are and whatever they are doing and disaster preparedness surely goes a long way in ensuring continuity of business in case of an emergency. The point that needs to be noted is that companies might have different risk perceptions in different countries. However, this does not preclude them from adopting a global plan that is tailored according to local specifications.
Finally, companies around the world have their risk mitigation teams to take care of local as well as global emergencies. For instance, the 911 attacks and the 311 Japanese Tsunami disrupted the global markets as much as they did the local areas in which they struck. So it is important to note that both location and global thinking are important for companies when they prepare disaster management plans.
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