Any disease outbreak can be a threat to business continuity, but some present greater risks than others. That’s probably why the World Cocoa Foundation donated $600,000 to fight Ebola in West Africa. Although almost 70 percent of the world’s cocoa production comes from countries close to the outbreak, none of those countries have actually seen a case yet. At the same time, healthcare professionals in British Columbia who likewise have yet to see a confirmed case of Ebola are focused on training and coordination in the case of a Canadian outbreak. Why are people making such bold moves against what, so far, seems like a distant threat?
Chances are they are keenly aware of how an Ebola pandemic could impact their critical supply chain and their value chain. A pandemic can not only impact the producers of raw materials we all rely on, but can also affect the workers that harvest the goods, the people that transport them and even the officials that make international commerce possible. The image of a small country, far away, battling a localized disease alone is no longer realistic. Just as the interconnectedness of all living things through nature is apparent, so too is the interconnectedness of the global business world. Today it’s hard to find an organization that doesn’t rely on people, labor or materials from outside a defined region to keep the business viable.
Consider how an outbreak could affect your business. What if critical materials are delayed or compromised? What if your team has to take time off and travel to care for family members that have taken ill—how would that impact productivity? What if the people who transport your goods become ill and that causes delays in deliveries? It’s easy to see the ripples, but hard to grasp all the potential impacts.
Fortunately, we have resources that can help. Download the white paper, Pandemic: Business Continuity Threat, Impact and Response and find out what you need to know to be prepared if a disease outbreak upsets your business.