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Mar 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 5)

Business Continuity & Recovery Strategies

Partnerships between Manufacturers and Customers Are Critical to Effective Plans

  • Business continuity planning (BCP) is put into action by companies to prevent disruptions in operations. In the area of pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturing, it is extremely critical that raw materials are received in a timely manner to prevent disruptions in manufacturing. It is challenging, however, to accurately complete business continuity planning in the manufacturing environment. The evaluations must include all facets of the supply chain, from suppliers of raw materials to components used to create the end product; a supplier’s disasters can become a customer’s disasters.

    Historically, manufacturers approached business continuity planning by using the requirements set by their suppliers, typically based on worst-case scenarios. Planning for the worst-case scenario can result in tying up millions of dollars for inventory that may never be needed. Financially based pressures on cash flow have contributed to the evolution of this methodology in recent years. The approach being applied today involves evaluation and ranking of risks that may occur, and planning for those that are most likely.

    Improving a company’s risk-management strategy and strengthening its response to threats and disasters does not have to be overwhelming. If managed properly, a business continuity plan can give a company a flexible and focused framework for addressing various risks simultaneously and one that involves all critical business units in the design and execution of the plan.

    Millipore has developed and implemented plans designed to anticipate and minimize interruption to key business processes, production facilities, and distribution sites. Every business unit has implemented these policies and procedures to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of employees and the continuity of supply to customers.

    Our approach toward potential risks and applicable continuity and recovery operations is product-specific. Plans are created that document the continuity strategies, providing details on equipment, facilities, and resources needed for recovery of operations. The business continuity risk assessment process includes the review of over 90 separate risks covering technology, business process, man-made, and environmental events.

    To meet emerging customer needs for a secure supply of product, companies need to maintain an active business continuity program centered on three elements: production reliability, risk assessment and mitigation, and crisis management.  Implementation of these principals is critical for existing products, but must also be considered for products in development as well.

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