09 March 2020 Print Companies

Disaster avoidance planning

Printers should prepare for the worst and hope to be pleasantly surprised, rather than leave themselves vulnerable during uncertain times.

Disaster recovery used to be something needed only by a few companies. It would mean having a second factory or servers at a different location that would ensure production could continue in in case of a fire, flood or other man made or natural disaster. It can mean having electricity and a back up supply from different parts of the grid or a diesel generator ready to fire up; or perhaps two internet feeds connected to different telephone exchanges. It has been something for businesses in mission critical print, whether legal and financial, newspapers and magazines or transactional print. No longer.

While the effects of the spread of Covid-19 are minimal, an inconvenience rather than existential for most businesses, the predictions are that this will change. There may be lock downs where access to a town, city or region, as in Italy, becomes difficult if not impossible. Companies, according to the government, can anticipate the loss through illness of 20% of the workforce. This is an average, so for some the loss will be greater. This is without issues for those supplying the exhibition, entertainment and hospitality industry as these sectors slowly grind to a halt. Printers need to consider what happens in each of these circumstances. A disaster recovery plan is needed.

This might be to outsource more work to online trade printers; it might be to share resources with a business in another part of the country (perhaps the BPIF might help with a pairing exchange for all printers); it might mean longer shifts for some to cover those unable to work; it might mean enabling remote working for those with screen or phone based tasks. There will be an effect on cashflow; on personnel; on customers regardless of how debilitating or otherwise the disease turns out to be. We hope that this virus is not as deadly as first feared. But there will be no escape from its effects. Businesses must be prepared.