Power cuts, pest infestations, equipment faults, cyber attacks and fires are just some of the disasters that can strike businesses in the food industry. Quite often these disasters may result in a company having to temporarily shut its doors to recover – a period known as ‘downtime.’
Downtime can be financially costly, as well as causing huge amounts of damage to a company’s reputation. In some cases, it can destroy a business entirely. Here are just a few ways in which your company can help to reduce downtime.
Invest in a backup power source
A simple power outage could have serious negative effects on your business. Refrigerators could stop working, resulting in any stored food potentially going bad, while the internet may no longer be accessible preventing you from doing non-cash transactions.
To avoid downtime as the result of a power cut, it could be worth having a backup power source that you can rely on to keep your business working. Many food companies have a backup generator. This could be powered by fuel or even solar powered. A power generator certainly isn’t cheap, but it is a worthy investment.
Back up your digital files
Cyber attacks are affecting businesses of all kinds including those in the food industry. A hacker may be able to steal valuable data, including data on both employees and customers. They could also choose to hold this data under ransom, preventing you from accessing these files and carrying out any digital tasks.
Backing up files could help you to keep your company running if you come under attack from ransomware. You’re best backing up files on the cloud and considering disaster recovery software which could prevent a hacker from then gaining access to these cloud files if they enter your computer system. Meanwhile, you’ll be able to keep accessing these files on another device, keeping your company running.
Getting insured could help to pay for reparations. For example, in the event of a fire, having insurance could help you to pay for damage repairs and replace equipment, helping you to get your business up and running again. There are all kinds of different insurance out there from cyberinsurance to flood insurance. You can’t insure yourself against every disaster as this would result in taking out numerous insurance schemes, however, it could be worth insuring yourself against the most likely and serious dangers. There are specialist business insurance packages out there that can provide a small amount of compensation against multiple disasters – these could be worth looking into. Also, consider whether it’s worth taking out warranties on individual pieces of equipment that could cause the most impact if they break.
Consider other emergency funding options
If insurance isn’t an option, there are many other ways in which you may be able to pay for reparations in the event of an emergency. You can find online loans for the same day – these could allow you to quickly get money in your bank to pay for the repairs needed. Alternatively, you could launch a fundraiser campaign to get your company back on its feet in the event of a serious disaster – many people in the community could be willing to contribute money that could help you to recover.
Simply having some savings set aside could also be useful in the event of an emergency. This could be an account that you can dip into when a machine breaks and needs fixing or when you need to pay for emergency pest control. There are many business savers out there that can generate lots of interest and help you to save up money more quickly.
Train your staff to deal with emergencies
It’s important that you’ve got an emergency plan in place and that your employees know how to react when disaster strikes. Without a rehearsed plan in place, you could make the downtime last longer. On top of fire drills, consider going through emergency protocol when it comes to a burglary or a pest infestation or a power cut so that your employees know what to do. This could be put in a handbook for easy reference when needed.
Take preventative measures
The most effective way to avoid disaster-related downtime is, of course, to prevent disasters from happening in the first place. You can’t always prevent disasters, but there are some that are certainly preventable.
For example, when it comes to broken machinery, you can keep this machinery services so that it can be repaired/replaced before it breaks. When it comes to pest infestations, keeping the premises clean and sealing up entry points that could invite in rats and ants could help to prevent an infestation from happening. As for a cyber attack or a burglary, improving your security could help to ward off thieves.
You may be able to hire advisors to help implement preventative measures in many cases. Fire safety advisors, for example, can help you to put measures in place to prevent a fire, helping to spot potential risks that you may not have noticed.