The importance of critical event management for manufacturers and supply chains


Natural disasters like earthquakes and extreme weather are obviously critical events. In the face of the global pandemic, Critical Event Management (CEM) was vital to saving lives by supporting the necessary logistics for personal protective equipment (PPE) and the introduction of vaccinations. The safety of people, places, and organizations was also a major concern for first responders during the freezing cold shocks that swept across the United States last winter, particularly in Texas, which suffered power outages due to power outages due to sharp drops in temperature.

However, CEM encompasses more than fire, flood, and snow. From civil uprisings and serious traffic accidents to arson and tampering with public facilities, the importance of communicating when faced with threats cannot be emphasized enough. While the hacking attack, which hoped to poison a water treatment center in Florida, was circumvented and tragic consequences prevented, the attempt points to one an upward trend used to cause direct physical harm to individuals and organizations. And the United States is now working to recover from two major ransomware attacks that crippled the Colonial Pipeline, with a huge impact on the fuel and food supply chains, and cascading impacts on logistics and prices for businesses and consumers.

Taking a preventive approach can help minimize risks. A unified communication system and a unified strategy are essential for manufacturing companies in order to be able to react to a crisis and to be able to recover from it. CEM is also important to related (but less affiliated) affected supply chain companies. For example, a manufacturer forced to shut down due to a chemical explosion that disrupts production could fall behind in providing the products its customers need. If these customers cannot meet their production needs, it will adversely affect more companies that need their resources further down the supply chain.

Safety is a key figure for production plants. Shutdowns affect sales and disruptions in one area can have a significant impact on supply chains. Early preparation for critical events helps companies react effectively, recover quickly and continuously improve processes.

Management of the event

The ability to prepare, plan, and respond to a serious event is vital to recovery.

To plan. The range of events that organizations face is inevitable. Improve operational resilience by assessing risks, communication templates, and workflows to be prepared and ready to act before something happens.

React. Enabling strategic communications to handle actual incidents is essential to orchestrating faster and more effective responses. Secure, two-way communication can reduce confusion and take affected people and assets into account.

Recovered. Maintaining an overview of events, increasing situational awareness and determining steps to resolve incidents helps to quickly restore disrupted processes.

Realizing all of this from a single pane of glass on the same system results in an effective CEM solution.

100% accountability

If people are missing during a crisis, CEM solutions can provide the ability to track people and send secure notifications through an established platform. With continuous updates notifying support teams and services, an organization experiencing a critical event can locate employees, get them to safety, and provide their whereabouts. In some cases, 100% accountability is required by law to ensure the physical protection of employees.

Secure, bidirectional notifications

Heavily regulated industries like oil and gas, healthcare, and trading companies all need to consider the health and safety of their employees. Accurate and timely notifications and two-way communication are critical during an emergency situation.

When CEM information is accurate and secure, companies are more likely to work together when they can trust and use the same platform. Effective CEM solutions capture threat intelligence and leverage the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) with sensors that serve as authoritative sources in systems that can be triggered automatically or manually. Geofencing creates maps inside or outside a designated area to raise awareness of a threat and enable protective measures.

During a crisis, a successful CEM platform bridges communication between the local community, the retail company and the emergency services. Workflows can be automated, but systems are often powerful enough to trigger response actions that are sometimes false positives. Human involvement is key to assessing every incoming event to ensure proper analysis and avoid unnecessary services. Advance notifications allow companies to switch during a critical event, saving valuable time, resources, and more.

From the most common use cases of deteriorating weather conditions to unforeseen production outages, a strategic communication system can help contain an incident, maintain environmental safety, and inform executives when it is safe to return to work and resume production. When key steps of prepare, plan, respond, and recover are in place and properly performed, organizations can better manage critical events and learn from current practices to continually improve themselves to deal with future events.

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