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As wide as you can possibly make it.
A business continuity plan is created because you had certain concerns. These concerns were mainly organized around not being to operate and therefore not being able to fulfill your contracts, deliver products, execute services, and otherwise generally live up to your duties. So when you did your risk assessments and then planned for whatever risks or threats you saw as possible events on the horizon, you tried to consider all the ways in which those threats could impact your operations.
If you were thorough, you probably considered supply chain disruptions concerning other companies in the same country. If you were very thorough, you probably considered how those same threats you saw, if they occurred, would impact the other companies you rely on for continuous operation. If you were very very thorough, you may have engaged with those partner companies in order to find ways to keep supply coming in, explore ways to keep distribution going out, and be sure that you knew you could always keep communicating. And if everything failed, ways to recover after all the mess blew through and calm returned. You were very conscientious in covering all your bases.
But what about your partners in other countries? What about all the imported components that would not be affected by the threats where manufacturing is, but by other threats, somewhere else. Yes, you covered that, too. Lessons were learned from the "2011 Tohoku Earthquake, Tsunami, and Radiation Leak" in Japan experience. That base is covered.
But what about your customers? Aha! What difference does it make if you can keep the business running if your customers aren't operating? If your customers can't take your products, or can't pay your invoices because they aren't operating it is exactly the same as if it was you that wasn't operating and it's the exact same situation you were trying to avoid when deciding to do a BC plan in the first place. Contracts will be delayed. Suppliers can deliver to you, but frankly you don't want them to. Distributors can deliver your product, but to where?
BC planning can't stop at one site. It can't stop at the whole organization. It can't stop in one country. It has to include the whole value chain, the whole business model - suppliers, distributors, resellers, support and maintenance partners. And let's not forget that the business model has one key component - a target market. BC planning even has to include key customers.
The more you trade in today's global marketplace, the more you need a wide and thorough business continuity planning process. The more partners you have, the more countries they are in, the more efficient (the more just-in-time) the whole system is, the more ways there are for your operations to be affected and the greater the impact.
No company can stand alone in today's market. Those walls you see between your company all the rest of the market aren't real and BC planning needs to take that into account.
With sincere apologies to John Donne.
No company is an island entire of itself; every company
is a piece of the market, a part of the main;
if a customer be washed away by the sea, we
are the less, as well as if the entire supply chain were, as
well as a factory site of the subsidiary's or of your company's
own were; any partner's death diminishes us,
because we are involved in the market.
And therefore never SMS to know for whom
the website is down; it is down for thee.
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