Manufacturing Industry: How To Audit Your Continuity Plan


As the supply chain grows increasingly complex, more organizations in the manufacturing industry are expressing concern about their own business continuity planning. According to a recent survey, 35 percent of businesses are extremely worried about potential supply chain disruption—and 77 percent said the increasing complexity of the supply chain is the greatest risk to their own business continuity.

Regardless of sector, the fact remains: Manufacturing is susceptible to disruption from a number of sources, including natural disasters, crime, and even terrorism. How prepared is your company to handle these types of events? If you’re not sure, an audit of your business continuity plan is probably in order.

Getting Started

In the manufacturing world, it is particularly important to ensure that your business continuity plan accounts for all of your organization’s various facilities and assets—regardless of where they are located. Many organizations have manufacturing facilities, distribution and storage partners, and other assets located in different cities, across the country or even around the world. And as the supply chain becomes more complex, and more systems and tasks are digitized, ensuring business continuity in all locations can become challenging.

Many manufacturers rely upon an external consultant or internal audit team to ensure that their business continuity planning is achieving true resiliency. Either way, their audit plan should include a broad scope to make sure all elements of business continuity are accounted for.

A Sample Audit

Your consultant or audit team will develop its own checklist to suit the size and nature of your business, but this audit overview will give you an idea of what should be included:

  1. A review of all existing business continuity plan documentation, risk reports, previous audit summaries and other relevant documents.
  2. An opportunity for various department heads, facility managers and other leaders to provide input on current BC protocol.
  3. Input from the IT department on potential risks to the organization’s inventory and supply chain management systems.
  4. Identification and analysis of gaps in the existing plan, such as new sources of risk, changes to the structure of the business or elements of the plan that are not working as intended.
  5. A chance to look for relevant good practices, industry standards or regulations that have emerged since the last audit.

Next Steps

Following your audit, be sure that your team takes several key steps.

First, adjust the plan to accommodate new risks, best practices or regulations, and update all documentation accordingly. Create a final audit report that summarizes the results of the audit and actions taken.

Next, consider if there are simple ways to streamline your business continuity planning. For example, if the audit revealed that your methods of storing, updating or distributing your business continuity plan are lacking, now is the time to update them. Consider adopting a more high-tech approach, such as a business continuity app, which streamlines the planning process and instantly communicates updates to all stakeholders.

Finally, reassess your plan on a regular basis. Your team might opt to do a full audit once a year or bi-annually, with high-level audits in between. Taking into account the nature and size of your organization will help you to find a schedule that works best for you. Just be sure to revisit the plan frequently enough to account for any changes to the organization or to its risk profile.

Issue and Crisis Management Audit