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Swine flu warning for transport businesses

Transport businesses could be wiped out by swine flu and recession combination
Businesses in the transport industry could be wiped out by a combination of the recession and a swine flu epidemic this winter.

And every single transport business even the very smallest must make a plan NOW for how they would cope with the epidemic if it happens.

That’s the advice of a management development expert Mark Jacobs of The Mdina Partnership.

It’s in reaction to a new survey by the Chartered Management Institute, that revealed 38% of organisations have no continuity plans.

Mark said: "It is a basic element of good management that you have a plan for every eventuality, even if it is a loose plan.

"If there is a swine flu epidemic, with reports that up to 65,000 people could die, it will affect businesses on many different levels.

"Not only could they find key members of staff are unavailable to work, but there may also be a cash flow crisis as customers stop ordering for a few months.

"Coming off the back of a deep recession, swine flu could do some serious damage to UK businesses if they are unprepared."

Mark recommends businesses prepare themselves in three ways:

1. Train staff to multiskill: Smart businesses don’t rely on just one person for critical functions. Train other members of staff now to step in and help in the event of an emergency

2. Set up the business for remote working: Where possible use web-based systems and smart technology such as VOIP phones, which can be used from any computer. That way the business can continue to operate even if the staff cannot get into a building without any warning

3. Hoard cash: Although it is difficult to save during a recession; having a reserve of money lessens the impact of slow or few orders during an epidemic.

Mark’s business Mdina focuses on management and sales development and training.

It was set up in 1980 and is famous for ensuring its learning is actually implemented in the business once the training has finished.

The company is also behind DART, a web-based management software that allows senior managers to see at a glance how their people are performing.

11,000 people are currently managed using this software.

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