Shutdown makes business riskier

The longest government shutdown in U.S. history disrupted the operations of federal agencies and impacted the lives of millions who work for the federal government. What you may not realize is what the shutdown did to business, or the countermeasures needed to address the risk or to remedy the situation.

Consider these examples:

Small business. Big impact
According to a poll by Paychex, nearly one in five business owners were negatively impacted by the government shutdown. The biggest impact area was payment delays from government contractors for services rendered.

Chances are, many of your vendors and firms in your supply chain are small businesses. If they can’t deliver, it impacts your company’s ability to meet its obligations. As such, you have a vested interest in your third parties. That’s why it’s critical to manage third-party risk with assessments and online monitoring, and why we created a best practice guide to managing third-party risk.

Flying can be a hassle; it’s also riskier
Flying has always been a hassle, but what if your company has employees taking business trips and TSA agents aren’t on the job? Employees could be late to business deals or tardy getting back to the office to put out fires. The risk is to the bottom line.

What decision would lower this risk or serve as a workaround? For inspiration, consider the example Southwest. The airline needed to get three new planes in the air, but it was held up by furloughed safety inspectors. Southwest met with FAA managers and lawyers to hammer out a deal whereby Southwest would cover the cost of recalling a furloughed safety inspector to sign off on the new planes.

Plan for business interruptions
In Kansas City and throughout the U.S., thousands of breweries could not label new beers due to the shutdown, which interrupted the label approval process by the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

The lesson here is that your business needs to manage risk associated with business interruptions. You can’t predict the disruption, but you can be prepared for when it happens. Business continuity management and planning (BCMP) helps organizations plan and prepare for business interruptions to minimize their impact.

Even though the longest federal shutdown in U.S. history is over, for three-weeks anyway, we could face this same dilemma in February. Shutdowns make business riskier. It’s why we manage risk, so that business can be resilient to shutdowns, interruptions and many other challenges.

Related Articles