Achieve Sustainable Business Growth by Establishing Corporate-Wide Business
Management System (Corporate BCMS)
In Lintec, each business unit or site has established its own business continuity plan
(BCP)*1 which describes procedures to respond to unexpected natural disasters or serious accidents.
Aiming to develop a corporate-wide business continuity management system (Corporate BCMS)*2 based on these individual BCPs, we strengthen the organization to achieve sustainable business growth.
This Highlight features our activities to date.
- *1 BCP: A plan developed in advance to enable the minimization of damage and the continuation or early resumption of business in the event that a company encounters an emergency situation such as an accident or disaster.
- *2 BCMS: stands for a Business Continuity Management System. It is a management technique to develop a business continuity plan, based on the understanding of the current conditions of the organization, to ensure that the businesses are continued in the event of a serious incident that will or may have grave impact on major products/services of the organization. Drills are also performed to validate the effectiveness of the BCP.
Continuing the Business: Big Responsibility for an Enterprise
As the supply chain* has become complex and the business areas of a corporation have widened, the impact of a corporation on society has become greater. Companies in the Lintec Group manufacture intermediary materials for a broad range of businesses fields. Therefore, were our business activities to be interrupted for any reason, it would have a great impact on society. BCPs and establishment of BCMS to effectively operate BCPs are important and necessary to fulfill our responsibility as a corporation.
- *Supply Chain: A flow of processes of material supply from procurement of raw materials, production, distribution and sales to delivery to end-users.
Corporate-wide Efforts Needed for Ensuring Business Continuity
"From 2009, we have developed BCPs mainly in business divisions, with the cooperation of related departments", says Toru Maki, the leader of the Corporate BCMS project team.
"At that time we did not have much information available in Japan about BCMS and it took considerable time for planning. Then we had the Great East Japan Earthquake. The awareness of BCP's importance was sharply heightened in and outside the Company", Maki continues.
Subsequently, six business divisions designed frameworks for BCPs. However, Sadakazu Morio of the CSR Management Office said that there was a barrier blocking creation of more practical and detailed plans.
"Individual business divisions and production sites could develop outlines of plans. However, to ensure the business continuity of the entire organization, we had to clear the walls between departments. And we did not have cross-sectional rules".
Subsequently, Maki and Morio decided that all departments within the organization must be involved to realize more elaborated BCPs. Creation of BCPs should not be a goal but a BCMS would be also necessary to continuously review and refine the developed BCPs.
Starting the Corporate BCMS Project: Involving Sales and Marketing Department
One of the obstacles was the difficulty of involving the sales and marketing department in this project.
"Production sites already had some understanding and awareness of BCP. But this was the first experience for sales sites” says Yoshiyuki Yamato from the Quality Assurance & Environmental Protection Division, who would actively participate in the establishment of the Corporate BCMS later.
"When the CSR Management Office proposed that this should be implemented as a corporate-wide system, my honest feeling was that it would be tough", recalls Yamato. But Chairman Akihiko Ouchi, who was the CEO at that time, encouraged Maki and Yamato to proceed with the project.
Ouchi said, "BCMS is an indispensable element for a corporation to fulfill its social responsibility. No single site should be excluded from the project. All departments should participate".
Finally, in April 2013, a project team comprising seven members selected from various departments was formed, with a mission to establish a Corporate BCMS.
"We decided that we should develop this system independently only using our staff members, without consulting professional consultants from outside. This would become a valuable asset for the Company in the future", said Maki.
Identifying and Separating "Causes” and "Consequences” for Breakthrough
Hiroyuki Nishio, who was the head of the CSR Management Office (and is currently CEO), gave a clear directive that the Corporate BCMS should be completed by the end of March 2014. Lintec also decided to follow ISO 22301*, an international BCMS standard published in 2012. The aim was to realize a BCMS that meets a global standard and to secure its objectiveness.
In the project team, Hiroki Aburaya and Takehiko Nishikawa (both from the Environmental Safety Group, Environmental and Safety Department) were assigned with the tasks of drafting new rules, creating and managing the work schedule. But they faced difficulties before long.
"To plan a BCMS, we had to ask plants and sites to do many things. We had to think how those things could be done effectively without interrupting their daily operations. For example, we asked sites to perform a drill so that they could identify and check various problems in a single drill. We also gave instructions on the procedures for writing a report. But we received requests from sites that the instructions should be more accurate and easy to understand", says Aburaya.
Moreover, as initially expected, the sales department faced difficulties. "I understood their confusion because I myself was from the sale field”, admits Hitoshi Sueta of General Affairs and Property Management Group, General Affairs and Legal Department.
"In the sales department, they had hardly had opportunities to think about BCP or BCMS, although this may differ depending on the background of individual persons. To receive understanding and cooperation from them, we first had to explain why BCMS is necessary. So, we focused on creating materials which were easily comprehensible for them", continues Sueta.
Moreover, they faced difficulties in creating BMS rules, too.
"Because we had a huge number of things to decide, just digesting them was difficult. When we discussed what actions we should take for a disaster scenario, we could assume a lot of causes. The more we discussed assumptions, the more possible actions we came up with", says Nishikawa.
This confusion was solved by a technique to identify and sort out "causes” and "consequences"".We could assume a countless number of causes for business interruptions. But consequences resulting from those countless causes were limited, such as 'most employees are unable to come to the office,' or 'materials cannot be transported.' Because we viewed scenarios from the viewpoint of "causes", the rules we created were too complex. But we finally realized that causes and consequences should be separated. Subsequently, we got information that corporations overseas actually have adopted an approach to create two BCPs: one that addresses 'causes' and corresponding disaster control/mitigation procedures and one that addresses 'consequences' and corresponding procedures to ensure business continuity", explains Yamato.
- *ISO 22301: An international standard for BCMS that a corporation or organization should follow in establishing and effectively operating a system to prepare for earthquake, fire, trouble in the IT system, financial crisis, bankruptcy of supplier, pandemic, or other natural disaster or accident.