One aspect of preparing for a hurricane that businesses often overlook is their vendors. All of the other businesses, suppliers, and service companies that keep your business running are going to be affected on different levels by the same storm that you’re preparing for. To properly prepare for a hurricane, you need to prioritize, contact, assess, and plan for the impact of not having access to those vendors.
Step 1: Prioritize Vendors
When assessing your vendors, the first step is to figure out which vendors and suppliers you absolutely need to do business. For instance, a grocery store needs to know that the shipping companies that deliver product are going to be able to do so in the wake of a storm. The critical vendors are the group 1. The second group is going to be any company that you need access to when they are needed. For instance, your computer service company if you don’t have one in-house or a company who repairs refrigeration units when they break. Any service providers that are business critical need to be group 2. Group 3 will be any company you use that aren’t critical to business continuity. These would be services like a uniform or linens company. Group 3 are services you can do without, but still continue business.
Step2: Categorize Vendors
Now that you’ve gathered the information about your most critical vendors, you need to take into consideration a few factors:
- Are they going to be affected by the same storm you’re a preparing for?
- Do they have a continuity plan?
- Is there an alternative vendor in case they can’t fulfill their purpose?
By assessing these factors, you can now categorize your vendors. For instance, you could have a “red” group that consists of critical vendors that are likely to encounter the same storm you are. A “yellow group” of vendors you need but won’t be affected by the storm and vendors you might not need. A “green” group would consist of vendors that you don’t need immediately and vendors that won’t be affected by the storm.
Step 3: Communicate with Vendors
The final step in assessing your vendors is properly communicating with them, especially the most critical “red” group. You want to ensure that these vendors all:
- Have a business continuity plan that is up to date
- Understand what your expectations for resuming work are going to be
It’s also important to communicate with your “yellow” and “green” vendors that you foresee yourself needing access to following a storm to ensure that they too have a continuity plan in mind just in case you need them. With these vendors being less critical, these are the vendors you are more likely to need backup options for. For instance, if you have one company that focuses on refrigeration repairs, in the wake of a storm it is a good idea to have multiple additional contacts handy should your primary company be booked.
The practice of assessing your vendors is a perfect example of why working with a company like quest just makes sense. There are so many aspects of your hurricane preparedness like staging dumpsters and eventual cleanup that we can handle, it takes the stress of tracking down multiple vendors off of your plate. When all of your waste disposal, recycling, and preparation is handled by a single point of contact, you’ve got a group 1 vendor that get you back in business fast, and does so while saving you money.