25 Jun Resilience And ‘Resilients’ As Business Types
Last year we all witnessed how fragile businesses can be if they don’t have a crisis management plan developed. You can read more about Brexit and business continuity management here. In this article, we will focus on a more broad concept – business resilience, which includes crisis management and business continuity management, and covers all possible risks that a company may face. Moreover, we will analyse ‘Resilients’ as business types, and see if it is critical for a business to be resilient or not and how it influences viability and adaptability to new circumstances.
‘62% of UK businesses founded in 2012 are closed as having low resilience or being not resilient.’ – A report by Aviva in association with Cebr ‘UK Business resilience’
To avoid confusion, which usually occurs when it comes to business resilience, business continuity and crisis management, let’s see what is usually meant under these terms. Business resilience refers more to strategic risk management, which covers many elements and integrated processes under the same umbrella. Business continuity is oriented on a standardised process-driven approach, which helps companies to continue business operations in case any major problems occur. And crisis management refers to particular incidents and their management.
There are no companies in the world that wouldn’t face business associated risks in their everyday activities. These risks can be not only financial, they can be related to technology issues, general economic turbulence, natural disasters, strikes, pandemic threats, and many more. Resilience can be described as the ability of a company to recover fast in case of a critical situation. The more flexibility companies have in the business environment, the more unpredictable situations they might face.
‘1 in 8 UK companies have experienced a high level of disruption in a typical year due to cash flow issues’ – A report by Aviva in association with Cebr ‘UK Business resilience’
The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted how fragile many companies are and how global economies can be massively disrupted. But we shouldn’t focus only on Covid-19, history has shown us that whenever one virus disappears, another appears – SARS, MERS, Ebola and many more. So we should take it as a constant and plan accordingly.
‘Resilients’ – Organisation Design Principles
Protecting a business from a problem that exists only in theory is not the easiest task, since it requires considering a set of different scenarios which might take place and dividing each scenario into separate elements – individual threats. This can help to create a comprehensive approach to business continuity and resiliency management. But what if some elements can’t be predicted? What to do in this case? The answer to this question lies in the approaches to companies’ creation and development. From the first day, business resiliency should be taken into account, and a company has to have a solid basement. Easy to say, but how to handle such a complex process in practice. Well, the first thing is to accept the fact that even with the best planning, there will always be an unknown part, which might destroy all the efforts for granting business resilience. And afterwards to build every element of the system as one, which can be renewed under any circumstances. There are some long-lasting organisation design principles, which can help in building resilient organisations and systems:
- Layering principle – using two or more elements to accomplish the same purpose. It can refer to systems, suppliers, contractors, or any other element. The main idea is to have all critical business elements covered with similar elements, which can be used in case needed. This approach can also be used to manage responsibilities between team members, when you have several people able to do the same tasks, or with the same level of rights to take critical decisions.
- Complementarity and consistency principle – all elements of the system have to be well integrated with all the processes. For example, if a company uses different software for different business activities- separate for client management, separate for purchasing management, separate for financial reporting, it is much more difficult to manage it all, as well as to recover its operations in case something goes wrong. Having one united system like ERP to manage all possible business operations is much easier for monitoring and maintenance.
- Foresight principle – means that all the elements of the business should be evaluated for how they are going to work together, as well as separate, taking into account not only smooth everyday operations but also all possible threats and unpredicted situations.
- Accountability & transparency – refers to both human and technical components to be able to be easily monitored in everyday activities. And in case errors or any technical problems occur, to be able to fix them before they transform into really big problems.
- Precautionary principle – means that if something is possible to happen, a company automatically considers it as something that eventually will happen. This involves conducting stress tests for risks with potentially significant consequences, with the following preparations to avoid potential risks, having ready plans on how to handle them, analysing vulnerabilities as well as monitoring warning signals.
Except for these principles, a company should have strategies for potential shifting of products, channels, target locations, even business models, to make sure they can diversify activities fast in case needed.
Top Benefits of Resilient Companies
- The ability to recognise threats and faster
Companies that have as their target business resiliency, not only develop plans how to recover fast if anything happens, they constantly think and develop ways to recognise potential threats before they even happen. This allows us to avoid total collapse and prevent many risky situations.
- The ability to better withstand the initial shock
If it is impossible to predict an issue, it is very important to react fast and correctly and not to allow the situation to escalate. Being ready to handle potential threats saves valuable time and energy for response actions.
- The ability to recover faster
This grants a competitive advantage to any business with similar issues in the market. Resilient businesses are not only able to recover faster, but they are also able to become even better and gain greater market share whilst their non-resilient partners or competitors are unable to.
Becoming a Resilient Company
According to McKinsey report, resilient companies in the period after recession from 2008 till today:
- Earn more than they plan, move faster and continuously increase their earnings
- Created optionality both financial and operational in the early stages of the recession
McKinsey names 3 main steps to become a more resilient company:
- Defining a starting point and ambition
A roadmap and a structured approach to achieving business resilience is a must.
- Defining a trigger-based plan
A company has to move based on specific triggers that are well balanced across Margin, Growth and Optionality.
- Rewire operating model
Make sure your business is fast by design in a way that incorporates the future of work in adherence with predefined trigger points. Covid-19 forced companies to reconsider their business models and to develop better resilience plans.
‘Within the UK, London has the highest share of resilient businesses: 40% of medium resilient and 5% of high resilient’ – A report by Aviva in association with Cebr ‘UK Business resilience’
Business Resilience Components
- Workforce resilience
Employees and their wellbeing (financial, mental and physical) is one of the most critical elements which influences business resilience and can be a key to business success or failure. There are three main measures of employee resilience: stability, people management and skill gaps. Business owners should focus on reductions of employee turnover rates, constant monitoring of employee engagement, taking care of constant education and training. An average loss of a business from one person leaving the company is 6 to 8 salaries this person had.
- Operational resilience
Companies face operational challenges every day. Operational resilience can be achieved by using one highly protected, fast, cloud-based system, like ERP to handle all operations in one place, and keep operations protected, monitored, transparent, and with full backups. Cloud solutions make your business more resilient in the case of extreme weather conditions or where physical crime occurs.. Choosing the progressive ERP provider which handles data security on their side makes a business more resilient against data leakage and cybersecurity issues. ERP as one source of truth for all employees and management, accessible from any place in the world, grants you operational agility.
- Financial resilience
Access to money can grant you protection against a variety of risks and ensure that you can utilise business opportunities when they occur. ERP systems help to monitor your incoming payments, your debts to suppliers, your contracts with clients, it can handle unification of information if you trade in different world zones and different currencies, it can help to automate payments of wages to employees, payments of commissions to subcontractors as well as taxes that have to be paid. The use of ERP systems can grant you up-to-date information about your financial operations, which makes your business much more resilient and able to react fast.
- Future resilience
Resilient businesses can withstand changes (both positive and negative) much easier than non-resilient businesses. There are three main ways to improve future business resiliency: product innovation and thought leadership in the market, development of long-term business vision and ability to adjust to a fast-changing business environment. Read more about business agility and true flexibility with the help of ERP systems.
- Commercial resilience
Gaining new clients as well as constant retention of old ones should be a top priority for every business. High customer satisfaction rates and feedback together with data-driven sales can grant your business a very high level of commercial resilience. And in this task ERP systems can help too. Fast sales and order management, reduction of human-driven mistakes in sales processes can help to increase customer satisfaction together with fast delivery. Customers getting better products and better services will be returning and can become your business ambassadors, driving more customers to your business just by providing honest feedback to their friends and relatives.
‘3 in 5 UK businesses formed in 2012 were no longer operational five years later.’ – A report by Aviva in association with Cebr ‘UK Business resilience’
Business resilience has a direct correlation with business viability. The higher level of resilience the more chances a company has not only to last longer in the market but also to recover faster in the event it faces any new challenges associated with financial, operational, security or any number of other issues. Resilience has to be taken into account at all stages of business growth, but the most important step is to create solid grounds and plan for resiliency before even the company is set up. If it is impossible and a company already is established, the sooner business owners make it resilient, the better. Automation of operations and implementation of ERP systems can significantly reduce efforts for maintaining company resilience. It can also grant that a company uses its full potential in business continuity management.