Hi there,

This week we’re back to our usual schedule. No more e-mails about the Qual-in-a-Week course. Instead we’ll be continuing our series about the 5 ways in which FM can support the core business of an organisation.

Today, we’re looking at a critical function of the FM function – maintaining business continuity.

Business Continuity

Imagine being the CEO of a multimillion pound car manufacturer and waking up one morning to find that the power to your main factory has been cut. The production lines have ground to a halt and there’s no way to fulfil the millions of pounds worth of orders that have been made over the previous month.

Who would you turn to?

Well, the facilities manager of course. Reacting to and solving major headaches like this is part and parcel of the FM’s job. And being unable to do so can have serious consequences. The example above could result in the millions of pounds of lost revenue. But in other contexts, such as in a hospital, it could literally become a matter of life and death.

That’s why business continuity is so important. How can you keep the organisation running and carrying out its core business when key services are removed.

Of course, the best business continuity measures are anticipated and planned. How do you mitigate against a power outage? With backup generators. But where should those generators be placed? In the basement? On the roof? If they’re in the basement, what if there’s a flood?

This is just one example that shows how business continuity planning needs to be taken seriously and explored in granular detail. It’s essentially an insurance policy against disaster. You hope you never need to use your business continuity plans. But if you do, you’ll be glad that they’re in place and ready to swing into action.

Effective business continuity planning requires a mix of knowledge, practicality and above all, creativity. You need to be creative about the kind of problems you may face. And you’ll need to be creative in finding solutions to those problems.

Threats to business continuity can come in a variety of different forms. Who would have anticipated, for example, the events of the COVID pandemic in 2020. Well, many businesses will have had some kind of plan in place for a pandemic, epidemic or localised disease outbreak and they will likely have been able to weather the storm better than those who didn’t.

So, to summarise, business continuity planning is critical for any business. It requires co-operation across multiple departments and business functions, but many of the services under the remit of FM will be instrumental in the planning process.

If your organisation doesn’t have a business continuity plan in place, it would be a sensible move to start working on one sooner rather than later. And if there is a plan in place, when was it last reviewed?

Your efforts in this area could literally save the organisation one day.

Remember, these things never happen.

Until they do.

Have a great week

Chris and the Xenon Group team

P.S. If you haven’t already studied or started studying for an IWFM qualification, which will cover topics like this in depth and fully assess your understanding, you may want to have a look at our guide to the IWFM Qualifications which will give you a full breakdown of how they work and what’s involved in the different levels. You can download it here.

P.P.S. If you’re already considering taking a qualification but don’t know which level to go for, a good starting point is our One-Minute-Leveller tool, which will ask you a few questions and give you a recommendation based on the result. You can access it here.