Crisis management is one of the most important – and potentially overlooked – elements of successfully running your manufacturing organization. It can be difficult to commit the necessary time and resources to plan for crisis situations or contingencies when times are good. It's natural for leadership to prioritize strategies that will help the business grow and prosper, rather than building fallbacks for situations that seem unlikely to materialize.

When things go wrong, however, crisis planning goes from a secondary consideration to an urgent need. Organizations that put in the work to have backups and alternatives in place can potentially bounce back more quickly than their less-prepared competitors, and those that include proactive measures in their plans may avoid the worst consequences of crises altogether.

The mass disruptions incurred by the global pandemic have demonstrated just how much disruption supply chains and manufacturing operations can sustain during an extended and unexpected interruption. While most crises are far more contained in scope, your organization should still invest sufficient effort in planning for them. When considering ways to keep supply chain issues to a minimum, you can turn to Miner's expert service professionals. Taking a more proactive approach to service and maintenance is essential to making your crisis management efficient and effective.

What is a crisis response plan?

Being ready to respond to a crisis means understanding how to act in specific circumstances. As consultant Matt Hinton told Compliance Week, a business continuity plan is not the same thing as a crisis management response plan. A crisis response plan should represent unique modifications to business continuity practices, ensuring that they'll be feasible to implement in particular circumstances.

What is the purpose of a crisis management plan?

A comprehensive crisis management plan consists of many specific practices to counteract various kinds of disruption. Many of the potential issues that could affect organizations are not as universal as the mass shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. A targeted cyberattack, for instance, could weaken a manufacturer's customer relations, or an accident in a warehouse facility could cause potential reputational or regulatory harm, while a mechanical failure on the loading dock could slow the supply chain to a crawl.

Programs that have to be functional and effective at all times, such as those designed for maximum equipment uptime and minimal supply chain disruptions, are placed under intense pressure during crises. With an expert partner such as Miner, your organization can prepare for both more efficient everyday operations and emergency procedures that take effect in response to disruption.

Strategy + Business pointed out the importance of having plans in place that not only help companies recover from crises, but are so comprehensive that they can prevent problems. For example, one element of a proactive plan to counteract a mechanical failure in the supply chain could involve a better maintenance contract. By adding proactive maintenance services, your business could alleviate potential problems rather than suffering them.

How to create a crisis management plan: 4 key considerations

Creating plans that reflect the potential for disruption to your business model and present useful recovery and prevention strategies is a demanding task, but one every manufacturer must undertake. The following are four important elements of a crisis management plan that can guide your efforts.

1. Involve stakeholders from across the company

An effective crisis management plan is one that is not dominated by any one department. Every part of the company, from communications and PR to the compliance officers and shift leaders on the warehouse floor should have a hand in developing the strategy. For instance, plans to maximize supply chain uptime need input from facility leaders, maintenance experts, transportation managers and more. Strategy + Business pointed out that collaboration is rare and sometimes uncomfortable, but it's necessary for the crisis management action plan to function smoothly under difficult circumstances.

2. Include a robust discovery phase

In manufacturing and logistics, crises can be caused by technical failures or challenges. McKinsey & Co. pointed out that in these cases, a crisis management plan should involve discovery and resolution phases that have realistic timelines and fully functioning peer reviews of potential solutions. Missing self-imposed deadlines or creating fixes that are poorly understood and may themselves fail are common but avoidable mistakes during crisis resolution, and a good corporate crisis management plan can circumvent them.

3. Practice your plan

Developing a crisis management plan without actually testing it leaves a significant risk of gaps or flaws going undetected. This is why Hinton told Compliance Week it's worth running drills to ensure your strategy holds up under pressure. If you're planning on ways to keep your supply chain running during a loading dock disruption, for instance, you should try those contingency plans before they're needed. What actions will service professionals take to restore assets to working condition, and how will facility personnel direct shipments while the work is ongoing?

4. Turn to industry experts

You can make many elements of your crisis response plan run more smoothly when you have expert eyes on the situation. For example, when you work with Miner's trained service professionals who can both repair failing equipment and perform proactive maintenance, you are better positioned to both recover quickly from crises related to asset damage, and to avoid ever entering those situations.

Reach out to Miner to determine the best ways to keep every link in your supply chain running during a crisis while simultaneously improving your resilience to these events. Request a quote today.