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Business Continuity Planning: How companies in Asia can better prepare for unexpected crises

From the pandemic to typhoons, recent unexpected crises have exposed the inadequacy of business continuity plans across Asia. Even for organizations with existing plans in place, their resilience was called into question with many struggling to recover and remain competitive.

From the pandemic to typhoons, recent unexpected crises have exposed the inadequacy of business continuity plans in numerous companies across Asia. Even for organizations with existing plans in place, their resilience against financial and operational stress were called into question as recurring lockdowns and supply chain disruptions led to many struggling to recover and remain competitive.

When it comes to business preparedness for crises, a survey of nearly 1,000 companies in the 2021 Marsh Resilience Report revealed fault lines within organizations and highlights a pressing concern for business leaders: the mismatch between organizations’ perception of risk versus the actions taken to manage these risks.

The above risk perception gap can be bridged by reviewing and revising existing business continuity plans (BCPs) to improve resilience in crisis situations. Meanwhile, businesses with inadequate plans in place will continue to be highly vulnerable when facing emerging risks and their potentially damaging effects on capital and reputational assets.

Business continuity planning: Where companies have been falling short 

There is a reason why many firms struggle to cope with immediate and long-term disruptions to their business operations, assets and revenue streams: These companies often mistake emergency response plans and incident standard operating procedures as business continuity plans. Hence, they are not implementing the correct processes to adapt to, avoid, and learn from disruption.

As a result, businesses with inadequate BCPs were caught off-guard during the pandemic and have found it challenging to recover in the aftermath. For instance, a significant number of companies were unprepared to cope with a huge increase in user demands on their IT systems in response to extended remote working arrangements. In the meantime, supply chains worldwide continue to be severely disrupted, with impact on businesses beyond what existing plans had prepared them for.

On the other hand, businesses that have implemented robust and comprehensive BCPs are well-positioned to respond to emerging risks and unexpected challenges. They are able to recover quickly from crises and capture competitive advantages that organizations without such plans cede.

What a robust business continuity plan should look like

Regardless of industry or geography, an effective business continuity plan (BCP) should be aligned to business strategy and affirm the following four objectives:

  • Minimizes losses and costs over time
  • Protects people, physical and electronic assets 
  • Prioritizes continuity and recovery of critical business functions and supply chain processes
  • Reduces recovery periods

With a long-standing risk management track record that includes partnering with companies in Asia to improve their resilience strategies, Marsh helps organizations plan ahead and make informed decisions in today’s complex and evolving risk environment. Marsh’s practical business continuity planning solutions are developed in line with international ISO standards (ISO 22301:2019) in the areas of business resilience and crisis planning, progressive preparedness improvements, incident management, and post-incident reviews.

A robust and resilient business continuity plan should also be aligned with business strategy and be adaptable and applicable to all types of risks. With experience in reviewing BCPs in Asia and proficiency in process implementation, Marsh’s dedicated team of risk consultants serve as valued advisors for companies across the region, helping tailor highly relevant and actionable solutions according to industry, geography and risk profile.

To improve your organization’s resilience and better equip it to recover faster and stronger from crises than your competitors, fill in the form on this page and get a free GAP analysis and health check to gauge your company’s preparedness against emerging risks.