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Bracing your business for winter - pt 2 - Minimizing downtime

Bad weather isn't just a pest for your staff, it can also cause disruption in other areas of your business too, for instance, taking down power lines and disrupting your electric supply. This could cause a disastrous downtime if you are in manufacturing or IT and are dependent on the electric.

But it could also mean if you are a "link" in a chain that your supply line will dry up because roads are blocked by ice or snow, or ferries have been stopped due to stormy seas - but how do your protect your business against this kind of "act of nature"?

It depends on what sort of business, and what kind of premises you have as to how much you can do to "weather-proof" your business, if you are reliant on your power and have the facility to install one, then a generator may help reduce the amount of down time you have to suffer, if this isn't practical though, you can at least put UPS (un-interruptible power supplies) in which will give you enough power to save any work, or finish a phone call before you completely loose power.

If you own the area around your property, then it is worthwhile having a look around to make sure that any power lines that lead to your property are away from trees that could be brought down in high winds, thus reducing the chance for downtime.

Weather-proofing your supply line may not be so easy, but with some careful planning it is possible to limit the damage done to your supply chain. You can also monitor bad weather warnings, and ensure you have some surplus supplies to hand as a very basic measure – however some businesses simply don’t have the room for extra supplies.

Talk to your suppliers; find out what their plan is for minimizing downtime during bad weather, check your insurance policy, does it cover you for down time that is beyond your control?

Some commercial insurance policies will, but you will need to make sure that yours does – when you are looking for an insurance broker it is worth talking to them and making sure they understand your business and any possible vulnerability so that your policy can be tweaked to be of most benefit to your circumstances.

It can also be helpful to make sure you know of several suppliers for key components so that if the worst should happen and your regular supplier has some downtime, you can order from elsewhere to avoid the knock on effect.

 
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