Some common themes have been running through requests for tenders in recent years. In addition to the requirement to prove your capability to deliver the best goods or services to meet their needs and provide the best value for money, companies are interested in knowing much more about your organisation.
Many are particularly interested in two key areas when it comes to future suppliers (or retaining existing ones); how do you approach business disruption and what type of global corporate citizen are you?
Business Continuity Management and Planning
Companies are increasingly savvy around the questions they ask with regards to how vendors manage risk. They want to know you have a written business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place. In most cases they want to see it.
They want to know that you’ve identified potential risks, developed strategies to mitigate these and have planned how to address an issue should it occur. They also want to know you’re constantly reviewing, planning and testing your plans, processes and scenarios.
If you haven’t implemented steps to ensure continuity of service and to minimise disruption should an unavoidable incident occur, then you’re a risk to their business.
- Know all of the potential risks to your business?
- Have strategies to mitigate these risks?
- Complete a regular business impact analysis?
- Have an emergency preparation plan?
- Have an incident response and recovery plan?
What would you do if a potential (or current) client asked you these questions today? If you can’t answer yes to each of these questions, what risks are you taking when it comes to delivery of services, the wellbeing of your staff and ultimately the health of your business?
And don’t forget about data – how you manage the security of information and compliance to relevant privacy laws is important.
Putting the right business continuity management plan is place is all about prevention, preparation, response and recovery. Start by identifying the risks and build your strategy and plans from there. If you can prevent it from happening, do it, if you can’t how can you reduce the chance of it happening, or lessen the impact? How do you respond to an incident and then recover from it? Document it, test it and ensure everyone in the business knows what to do.
Being a good Global Corporate Citizen
As well as ensuring you can deliver the products or services without disruption, more and more companies want to know about a vendor’s commitment to corporate and social responsibilities, and how you’d align, or not, to their own stated values and commitments.
It’s not good enough to put some nice words in a proposal, you need to walk the talk.
As an organisation are you aware of the Sustainable Development Goals? Are you contributing in a positive and meaningful way where you can to these goals?
Sustainable development is much broader than just the environment; encompassing the diverse needs of different people and communities, creating equal opportunities and social unity to ensure a strong and healthy society. Doing things differently and ensuring quality of life for all.
What policies do you have in place, how are they actioned, enforced, measured, refined and promoted?
For example, do you have documented environmental policies and initiatives, diversity and inclusion policies and programs, health and safety protocols, social responsibility programs and sustainable procurement practices in place?
What are you actively doing in the community?
What are the specific challenges or opportunities in your industry you can be actively addressing? For example, hotels implementing human-trafficking awareness training, manufacturers sourcing local materials or construction companies incorporating an increasing percentage of green materials.
For Australian businesses, do you have a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in place? The RAP program provides a framework for organisations to support the national reconciliation movement.
Reconciliation Australia explains, “The RAP Program contributes to advancing the five dimensions of reconciliation by supporting organisations to develop respectful relationships and create meaningful opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Each of the four RAP types (Reflect, Innovate, Stretch, Elevate) set out the minimum elements required from your organisation to build strong relationships, respect and opportunities within your organisation and community.”.
Organisations that have a RAP in place are looking to other businesses with the same commitment.
At the end of the day it makes good business sense to have a robust business continuity plan in place and all organisations have a level of responsibility for the social, environmental and economic consequences of their actions. And it might even help you win more business.
Need some help with the above? Drop me an email here to arrange a confidential discussion.
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