Contingency definition: A contingency is a potential negative event that may occur in the future, such as an economic recession, natural disaster, fraudulent activity or a terrorist attack.

It is a fact of life that bad things sometimes happen and anticipating them, as far as possible, is part of sensible business planning. For a business where a warehouse is an important part of the infrastructure, the effects of fire can be particularly damaging. It can be caused by human action – both accidental and intentional, or by a mechanical or electrical fault, neither of which can necessarily be foreseen.

When there is a catastrophe which interferes with business operations financial compensation from insurance can help alleviate matters, but a cash injection alone will guarantee operational continuity in the short term. Customers may be sympathetic to their supplier’s misfortunes but they have their own commercial concerns and will naturally have to look elsewhere if there is unworkable delays in the supply chain. So what can be done to minimise the effect of a potential negative event?

Planning ahead

Aganto has been supplying temporary warehouses for many years in response to emergency requirements, and have seen firsthand the devastating effects of warehouse floods and fires. Clients with carefully considered contingency plans recovered more quickly from a disaster than those less prepared. For those looking at putting their own plan in place, or reviewing and adjusting existing plans, the following points may come in useful:-

  • The plan should be developed using the expertise of the management from all the operational areas that may be affected by a major incident
  • As far as possible list the potential serious incidents that could affect operational capability
  • Each possible incident should be given a rating of likelihood and severity to identify the most serious threat
  • Deal with the most likely or serious threat first in the plan. Identify which business functions are the most critical and plan to deal with them first
  • Write the plan in stages to establish a process for moving the organisation from a state of disruption to normal operation
  • Identify a list of approved suppliers (including lead times) who can repair or replace the damaged equipment, buildings or other services such as IT
  • Key personnel should be given the responsibility for specific actions within the plan
  • Testing is a vital part of being prepared and the results should be logged in order that the process can be refined to its optimum effectiveness
  • It is important that the plan is kept up to date and a responsible person should be appointed to ensure it is ready for action

How can temporary buildings help?

Finding warehouse space in an emergency – no matter how well prepared you are – can be problematic and if it’s off-site it can present significant operational difficulties. The nature of the lightweight aluminium frames used for Aganto temporary buildings means that they can be installed on site fast, which is vital in an emergency situation. Stocks of buildings are held to able quick turnaround from point of order, and these are available hire in the short or long term as needed. See this case study showing how Aganto helped a business recover from a fire.

Using a temporary warehouse as an interim measure enables the business to continue and buys precious time whilst considering the longer-term options for the future. When creating the contingency plan be sure to include a reputable temporary building supplier, like Aganto, in the contingency plan, and hope you never have to use it.

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