While it is, undeniably, sound business sense to have contingency plans and resources in place should a disaster strike, there is a great deal of wisdom in the old saying: 'prevention is better than a cure', according to SembCorp Protection's General Manager, Paul Frankland. Certainly, he says, it is less costly as the Association of British Insurers is on record as having paid out £790 million in commercial claims for fire alone in 2005, up by a massive 60 percent on the previous year. Also, business interruption claims following fire damage, at £220 million, were the highest since 1997. Insurers now expect one in every hundred businesses to make a fire-related claim every year.
He contends that, even if computer records and systems are safely replicated, the recovery challenges for a business are often overwhelming. Raw material stocks need to be sourced and replaced; production plant needs to be commissioned; finished goods have to be manufactured, stored and distributed. Paul comments: “Even if, in utopian cases, the insurance payout meets the entire cost of recovery, it will take months, possibly years for a business to recover to its pre-event position. And what will its customers be doing? Right, seeking new suppliers.”
SembCorp Protection is a division of SembCorp Utilities (UK) Limited Registered in England & Wales with number 4636301, with registered office
at SCU(UK) Headquarters, Wilton International, Middlesbrough, TS90 8WS.
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“What is needed is a mindset change,” he argues. “Businesses need to get away from what might be described as the: 'What will we do if the IT suite is destroyed?' approach to business continuity, to: 'How do we stop the IT suite being put out of action?'. Business continuity planning should be about preventing hazards from developing into disasters, or minimising the effects of emergencies if they do occur. More attention needs to be focused on implementing sustainable measures that will reduce or eliminate risk.”
It is an approach to ensuring business continuity that was pioneered by SembCorp and has led to the company becoming one of Europe's leading emergency response providers. Today it is responsible for safeguarding £14 billion worth of high-hazard industrial assets. Its core skills and offerings embrace the provision of outsourced emergency response services, risk assessments, reviewing clients' emergency protocols or facilities, as well as devising and planning emergency training tailored to specific needs or circumstances. The company also deploys the latest fire protection and engineering equipment to protect lives and assets as well as ensuring business continuity. Its website can be found at www.sembprotection.co.uk.
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