COVID-19: Managing Business Operations 

Should I close my workplace and tell people not to come in?

If people can work remotely then they should do so.  If this is not an option, please ensure good social distancing measures are in place (at least 2 metres apart) and ensure good hygiene practices are in place.

What practical things should I do now?
  1. Speak to your workforce and their representatives if appropriate and ask for their assistance.
  2. Enforce strict hygiene rules and ensure suitable and plentiful supplies of washing materials and sanitisers.
  3. Introduce frequent and regular cleaning regimes with particular attention on areas colleagues will be touching including clocking in systems and share facilities such as canteens and food.
  4. Encourage staff to bring their own food and water and to not share.  Sharing of cups and cutlery should be reviewed.  If they must remain, ensure they are washed at least 65 degree centigrade.
  5. Encourage those who have roles which don’t require presence in your production facility to work from home (ensuring proper data protection systems are in place).
  6. Where possible, ensure there is 2 metre distances between workers.
  7. Stop unnecessary travel and unnecessary visitors to your premises.
How can I prepare my business for the impacts of COVID-19?

Business continuity planning can help you maintain – or quickly resume – critical business functions following a potential incident of widespread infection. You may need to consider factors such as supply chain disruption, your duty of care towards employees and communications.

Planning can help you prepare for disruption, minimise the potential impact and return to ‘business as usual’ in the quickest possible time.

 See the Gov.UK’s business continuity management toolkit link below

 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/137994/Business_Continuity_Managment_Toolkit.pdf

How can I prepare our IT operations?

Availability of IT operations could be fundamentally important to minimise the impact of Covid-19 on your business. Some of the key things to think about:

  • If possible, everyone in the organization should have a laptop which is capable of remote connection. Users should be bringing this home with them every evening.
  • Test your continuity plan.
  • Have accurate distribution lists (email and SMS) in place for communicating with various groups of users throughout the course of the incident.
  • Need to plan for when key IT resources, e.g. system/network administrators, fall ill, how their roles are going to be covered and who their alternates will be.
How do we ensure good communication with staff and stakeholders?

Manufacturing NI has partnered with EOS IT Solutions to offer all of our members a free 3-month trial of Webex conferencing facility.

This tool will provide unlimited meeting and web-conferences with up to 200 participants, telephone and VoIP audio dial in, full HD video meetings, unlimited messaging, group chats and a raft of other services.

For more information and to sign up, please visit https://www.eosits.com/freewebex/

How do I manage our supply chain?

In today’s just-in-time inventory management world our supply chains are going to be disrupted in the short term by Covid-19. A few mitigating actions that we should consider:

Talk to your suppliers and understand their contingency plans. They will be doing everything possible to minimise the problem as well.  They will also need to understand your plans to manage their risks. Openness, transparency and trust is required on all sides.

  • Agree communication arrangements to adopt to best manage arrangements and contracts during any disruption.
  • Analysis supplier risk/concentration and consider alternative sources as a back-up.
  • If stockpiling take care of the cash flow impact and the likelihood of any customer disruption.

Over the medium term we may need to reconsider the overall approach to supply chain management.

We can help with essential supplies, who should we contact?

 There will likely be requests to assist both Government (through supply of materials and equipment) and perhaps from other manufacturers.  If you have things to offer, please let us know E: info@manufacturingni.org

What about legal proceedings for bankruptcy?

This past week has been one of the most challenging for the business community that many of us have ever experienced.  The Business Support measures announced over the course of the past two weeks will certainly help but there will still be difficult days to come regrettably.

The Bankruptcy and Companies Master (Master Kelly) has directed that no oral hearings with parties and/or their legal representatives will take place until further notice, and that all matters currently in the system which are not of critical importance will be adjourned generally.   Similarly, the Master has also directed that no new business should be issued until further notice unless it is urgent, in which case the reasons for the urgency must be clearly set out in writing for her consideration.

This will be welcome news for clients struggling and who have live matters ongoing or who are concerned that legal action is imminent.