Business Continuity, Critical Communications, Manufacturing

How Business Continuity Strategy and Critical Communications Help Manufacturers Protect Workers and Facilities

By Shannon Gallo

Manufacturing companies have a lot to lose when it comes to unexpected disruptions. Whether it stems from inclement weather, insufficient staff, workplace accidents or supply chain bottlenecks, a halt in production translates to measurable profit loss.

An effective business continuity strategy can prevent incidents from becoming crises. Protect your people, places and property by delivering alerts rapidly across your entire organization. Here are five ways manufacturing companies can get the most out of a business continuity program with the help of a critical communications product.

1. Facility Incident Alerts

Accidents happen. From leaks and spills to employee injuries, cyberattacks and workplace violence, your company needs a way to alert workers to an incident before it becomes a full-blown crisis.

A critical communications system with mass notification capability can enable your organization to maintain essential business functions and avoid a lapse in service or production. This technology enables your company to send alerts quickly so workers can take appropriate action. For example, if there is a gas leak or equipment malfunction, your security team can send a message to the personnel working out of that plant, telling them to avoid the area if it’s unsafe or directing the team to fix the issue and mitigate damage.

Look for a system that allows for two-way communications, so stakeholders can mark themselves as safe or request assistance, and make sure the product can send alerts to a variety of devices. Plant workers are unlikely to be sitting at their computers all day, so text alerts might be the best option for many manufacturing companies.

2. Severe Weather Alerts

With the increased frequency and severity of tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires and winter weather, every plant has the potential to be impacted by inclement weather. Your organization needs a way to alert staff to stay home in the event of extreme weather or seek shelter if they’re already on the premises.

An effective critical communications system can do this automatically, ensuring no one is forgotten and your people are kept safe. Make sure it comes with built-in redundancies and can reach stakeholders on a variety of devices, so you can maintain contact even if the power lines go down or you temporarily lose internet connection.

3. Routine Employee and Vendor Alerts

A critical communications system is essential in emergency situations, but the technology can also streamline communications and increase employee engagement throughout day-to-day operations.

For example, alerts can be used to remind employees of upcoming benefits enrollment deadlines, company events and training classes. Effective messaging can increase attendance and morale and ensure your team has the support they need.

It can also be used to communicate with stakeholders throughout your supply chain. You can notify vendors when you need an increase or decrease in supply, as well as inform stock managers at your warehouses if a shipment’s delivery date changes.

4. Staffing Logistics

Manufacturing companies depend on consistent staffing. Some of the biggest pain points for plant managers revolve around making sure every shift is filled and alerting employees to stay home when issues arise, such as the power going out. 

Quota calling is a feature of a critical communications system that allows companies to send out automated messages to employees to obtain shift coverage. Managers are notified as employees sign up through the system, and the messages stop automatically when all open shifts are filled. Going through this process by manually calling everyone can suck up hours of time, whereas quota calling doesn’t require any labor and gets shifts filled in a fraction of the time. The calls can also be conducted in a specific order to satisfy union rules, and records are kept to prove management reached out to everyone.

Quota calling has the potential to pay for itself after one use. During a power outage, a plant manager may not have enough time to call each employee before the next shift starts. When workers show up under those circumstances, the company is usually still required to pay them, even though no one’s able to work. Those wages can add up to a significant loss. An effective quota calling system can save the company time and money while preventing employee frustration.

5. Keeping Your Response Teams Connected

When disaster strikes, everyone needs a way to refer to best practices and pull from the digital library of communications templates. A critical communications system enables team members to have access to all plans and procedures, wherever they are. This prevents your team from becoming panicked and making errors they wouldn’t otherwise commit.

There also needs to be a way to instantly connect the continuity team so they can strategize and coordinate a response. One-touch conference calling allows team members to hop into a meeting no matter where they are around the world. They can then discuss what occurred, agree on a plan and follow up as things unfold.

In the aftermath of a critical event, it’s important to review the actions taken and messages sent. A critical communications system includes an audit trail feature, so your team can look back on their response and make any necessary changes to improve going forward.

For a closer look at how a proper business continuity program that includes critical communications can help your organization, schedule a demo today.