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Distributor's Link Magazine Fall 2018 / Vol 41 No4

56 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

56 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Robert Footlik Robert B. Footlik, PE is a retired Professional Industrial Engineer. With over 50 years’ experience as a Warehouse and Logistics Consultant to a wide variety of clients including Fastener Distributors, Bob has a wealth of valuable information for our industry and he is willing to share it. While Footlik & Associates is now closed, his expertise is still available to his friends and our readers. For friendly advice, a second opinion or just to start a conversation, he can be reached at robert@footlik.net. PRE-PLANNING CAN SAVE YOUR BUSINESS AND YOUR LIFE If there is one commodity that the Fastener Industry has in abundance it’s 20-20 hindsight. Unfortunately by the time one has the opportunity to look backward the past is already over and it’s too late to do anything about it. This is especially true when planning for disaster events that are unpredictable. In this regard recent mud slides, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes have been a real “wake up call” for everyone. While recessions can take months to build, earthquakes, tornados, fire, hurricanes and vandalism can take only minutes to devastate a business that took decades to implement. But with some preplanning and moderate advance efforts the effects can be minimized. Disaster planning falls into three broad categories: preplanning for emergencies, actions during the event and operation/salvage/restoration when the dust settles or the fire is extinguished. Each of these steps is important, but preplanning is the most readily controlled and will dictate most subsequent actions. It is the key to emerging from adversity stronger and more viable than before the calamity. Start With “Who” Regardless of the size of the organization the best and most efficient team must have a leader. One individual ultimately must make on the spot decisions, preferably working according to a well orchestrated and comprehensive plan. This individual should have the total perspective and while they may delegate tasks theirs is CONTRIBUTOR ARTICLE still the final authority. Right or wrong the “buck stops here.” A “Disaster Manager” can be you, the warehouse or operations manager, the head of maintenance or any of your key personnel who can handle the responsibility and make level headed, rational decisions in the heat of the moment. Committee meetings and votes are definitely going to be too little, too late or all the wrong decisions. Company size and complexity will dictate the organization required to implement a comprehensive plan. With more departments and divisions it becomes increasing important to review the needs of each area separately. For example, a simple way of mitigating data disasters is with a regular program of frequent back up copies. But where will these be stored? On site storage has obvious problems, but off site computers and systems reachable only via non-existant phone communications or destroyed Internst infrastructure are little better. Backing up to a portable memory card or disk entails other risks. The disaster plan must address these potential problems with appropriate procedures and redundancies. Less obvious are the procedures to keep the business in operation on a day to day basis. The most common occurrence is a loss of power. Simply keeping electric forklifts charged on a regular basis is a good zero cost idea. Adding a hook up point for an emergency generator is a cheap way of providing power quickly, provided the plugs are compatible with readily available rental equipment. Someone needs to identify these opportunities now, not after disaster strikes. CONTINUED ON PAGE 158

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