Pharmacy owners are constantly making decisions based on risk versus reward scenarios. In the wake of the recent hurricanes and wild fires, evaluating the risk versus reward of investing in disaster preparedness is getting more attention than ever.
Obviously, the risk associated with not investing in disaster preparedness, depends on the luck of the draw: no disaster, no risk. A pharmacy owner could also look at it this way, “If I invest a lot in disaster preparedness, and we never have a disaster, that’s a lot of wasted time, effort and money.”
But here’s some little known and really good news; investing in disaster preparedness creates immediate and long-term reward, even if a disaster never affects your business!
To illustrate the immediate benefits, consider the impact of following this much-abbreviated list of preparedness recommendations made in a 2014 FEMA booklet titled Every Business Should Have A Plan:
- Review your business process flow chart, if one exists, to identify operations critical to survival and recovery
- Include co-workers from all levels in planning and as active members of the emergency management team
- Make a list of your most important customers and proactively plan ways to serve them during and after a disaster
- Identify key suppliers, resources and other businesses you interact with on a daily basis
- Keep copies of important records such as building plans, insurance policies, employee contact and identification information, bank account records, supplier and shipping contact lists, computer backups, emergency or law enforcement contact information and other priority documents in a waterproof, fireproof portable container
- Store a second set of records at an off-site location
- Conduct education and training seminars regularly and include disaster training in new employee orientation programs
The day-to-day demands of pharmacy ownership can trap you in a loop of expediency that is difficult to break free from. But, if the thought of not being able to recover from a disaster isn’t enough to motivate you to do some disaster planning, perhaps the immediate and long-term rewards of engaging in the type of thinking and activities described above will do the trick.
To assess the immediate benefits of following the FEMA recommendations above, consider these simple questions:
- What if you had a crystal clear picture of, and all your employees knew more about, the critical parts of your operation?
- How would including employees in the planning and execution of a preparedness plan impact their sense of your professionalism, your commitment to their safety, and their sense of security about the future?
- What if your employees knew who your most important customers were? Would that have an impact on the service they provide today, tomorrow… regardless of a disaster?
- What if they knew who your key suppliers and advisors were?
- Do you know where all of your records and documents are? What would be the positive result of simply getting these organized and secured?
- Would structured, regular big-picture conversations with employees about the future safety of the pharmacy have an impact on their ability to better contribute to its success?
It is obvious that an emergency plan can be the difference between keeping your business open, and losing everything. According to a business readiness guide published jointly by Homeland Security and FEMA:
- An estimated 25 percent of businesses do not reopen following a major disaster
- The number of declared major disasters more than doubled in the 1990s
- A business can be hurt indirectly when disaster strikes customers or another business, such as a supplier or distributor
- OSHA requires that most businesses with 10 or more employees have a written emergency plan
So, if you think it is time to do some or do more to disaster planning, Waypoint can help.
Here are just a few of the services we offer:
Crisis Management vs Reaction: this tool can help business owners avoid costly mistakes of reacting to crises rather than managing them to minimize their effects.
General Valuation Review: gives the owner a basic value of his or her company, specifically helpful if/when insurance claims need to be made.
Contingency Planner: Designed to help the business owner write a plan for the scenario where he or she cannot work for a significant period of time or dies prematurely. This plan protects the value of the company by assigning specific duties to specific employees until the final wishes of the client can be executed (i.e. selling the pharmacy), and protects the company from the loss of key employees if the owner dies or gets sick or is injured.
Don’t risk losing everything you have worked so hard to build and don't miss out on the opportunity to enjoy the immediate benefits of preparing for a disaster. Take some time, develop a plan, communicate with your team, and help keep your business alive come, literally, hell or high water.