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MANAGING RISK: A Worst Case Scenario

Planning for the unexpected should be part of your technology plan.

Just miles away from your workplace, during your morning commute, you begin to see smoke billowing on the horizon. Your first few thoughts are likely that the smoke is emanating from a fire and you hope no one has been injured. But as you drive closer and closer to the source of the smoke, a sinking feeling sets in as you realize the fire is originating from your workplace—your business— your yard.

It’s not a very promising scenario—a disastrous situation most would hope to avoid at all costs. But for J.D. Saunders, vice president of Campbell, Calif.-based Economy Lumber, the scenario was a wakeup call.

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“The first time I really thought about it I had a deer in headlights, shellshocked look,” Saunders recalls.

The situation was presented to Saunders—in a seminar held roughly a decade ago—by Harry Hartnup, then a disaster recovery coordinator with Enterprise Solutions. Today Hartnup is a manager of network and technical services at Epicor. And Hartnup continues to preach that LBM dealers should always prepare for the unexpected.

“We want businesses to be aware of the risk,” Hartnup says. “They assume they’ll just bulldoze everything after a disaster, get some new boards and everything will be okay.”

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Paving over the rubble, ordering fresh lumber and hardware, and erecting a new sign is just the beginning of recovering
from a physical disaster. Indeed, in the information age we live in today, having all of your data backed up is what allows a business to hit the ground running the minute something goes wrong.

Creating a Plan

While we’ve discussed the importance of an evacuation plan in the pages of LBM Journal, having a digital backup plan is another necessity. Hartnup advises business leaders to identify what is important to the business while analyzing what types of tech solutions exist in the marketplace.

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“Verify what critical elements need to be backed up and you can recover quickly,” Hartnup told LBM Journal.

When Hurricane Irene decimated areas of New England and New York in 2011, causing billions of dollars worth of damage, Vermont dealer r.k. Miles in Manchester, Vt. already had a plan in place. The storm’s relentless rainfall and flooding wiped out bridges, roads and homes. At r.k. Miles, materials were floating in the yard as the waters rose.

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