Business Continuity Case Studies

How a leading steel manufacturer produced a working business continuity plan in under 4 weeks

Business Continuity Planning for a steel manufacturer

Posted by Mark Robinson on May 31, 2017


As a condition of their business interruption (BI) insurance, our customer's insurer required them to have an up to date, and tested business continuity plan (BCP). As a precursor, they needed the supporting business impact analysis (BIA), risk assessment (RA), continuity plan and business continuity management system (BCMS) to good first draft, all within 4 weeks.  Challenge accepted.

What risks did they face?

The mill is fully automated, continuously supplying European customers with hot rolled steel products. This means the operation places heavy reliance on their IT systems to the point where an IT failure will cause production to immediately stop. There were also the more obvious risks of major plant failure, and supply chain failure, namely power, water, gas and steel.  Another significant risk arises from the possibility of collateral damage from neighbouring industries, including toxic gas release and explosions.

What did they buy?

They bought Inoni Essentials M, a package which provides a full consulting solution supported by our software.  It means we can deliver faster and to a higher quality than we otherwise could.

Who did we work with?

This project had board level commitment and from the outset, we worked closely with the CFO, the formal project sponsor.

How did we prepare?

To maximise value and minimise the time required of our customer's busy execs, we collected as much information as possible in advance of the site visit. Our sponsor was exemplary, supplying detailed organisation charts, process maps, product breakdowns, lists of key staff and suppliers and IT systems. We were able to top this up with information from the company’s website. This preparation means we made great use of our time on site, arriving well-informed and with some areas of the toolset pre-populated. 

What did we do on the site visit?

Because of the speed of turnaround required, two Inoni consultants visited. The site visit involved a tour of their significant site before meeting with the CEO, CFO and COO. Here we explained the methodology, offered insights into BCM generally, but then collaboratively developed the risk profile and continuity strategies so they received immediate insight and tangible value. They agreed the process was highly productive and emerged from the workshop with new insights into the business.  From our point of view, the day could not have gone better.  We educated, engaged and collected all the information we needed. 

What happened next?

After the visit we returned to our offices near Reading and spent time talking and thinking, using the online toolset to further analyse and record our findings.

What did they get?

Over the course of the next 4 weeks we built the business impact analysis, risk assessment & risk register and business continuity plan (including emergency plan, crisis plan and recovery plan). We also produced a straightforward business continuity management system which aligns the site’s capability with ISO 22301, the international standard for business continuity.

What were the customer’s learnings?

They found the site visit generally very useful, and specifically, learning the value of business interruption insurance and the implications that a spot trading environment has on this. In this kind of commodity market, it’s hard to lose your reputation because the market cares more about price, quality and delivery than brand. A piece of top-grade steel can answer few questions and who a customer buys from is almost irrelevant. Implications of this is that their plan needs less focus on market retention and more on plant restoration.

Another key learning was that IT resilience is more critical than first glance might suggest. The risk of a cyber-attack is perhaps reduced due to organisational visibility, but if realised could have a major impact.

Finally, they learned how to think about business from a continuity standpoint, the nature of dependency and the way shocks are transmitted to affect the bottom line. As margins are tight, and the competitive fierce, the the slightest wobble in productivity or process moves them from profit to loss-making. The BIA helped them understand which transmission paths needed more protection and which were already resilient.

Could they have done it without Inoni?

We don’t know of other ways of completing a project like this within equivalent cost, time and quality parameters.  We consumed just 8 hours of senior management’s time, and turned around a working continuity solution to good first draft in just under 4 weeks.


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Tags: Business Continuity Management, Business Impact Analysis, ISO 22301, Insurance