Tuesday, June 2, 2009

When distant news is local

Barely noted in the Gillette WY News-Record is a mention that June 1 is opening day for the hurricane season.

Hurricanes in Gillette are not an obvious threat for this northeast Wyoming oil/coal town.

But a wise Enterprise Risk Management practitioner in Gillette might do well to consider hurricane season opening day, even though the likelihood of a hurricane blowing through town is more than remote.


Glad you asked.


Vendors of all types.

Let's start with importing raw materials - including fuel for the trucks, shovels, and drilling rigs. Don't forget the personal vehicles workers use to get to the job; or the company vehicles used to carry people to remote sites or to search for more product.

Most of the fuel comes to town via rail or truck.

Gillette has a daily newspaper, the Gillette News-Record.

In order to publish the newspaper, it needs newsprint - paper.

It needs chemicals, special plates, ink, glue, and other production equipment.

All of the above are imported into Gillette.

Some of the materials may come into the US via a ship offloading cargo at an Atlantic or Gulf port.

The staff needs to get to work. And reporters need to cover their beats. Vehicles that need fuel, oil, parts.

If a 'cane hits, it could - directly or, more likely indirectly - impact operations at the News-Record or the mining and drilling operations that keep the town's economy going. The ripple effect.

Granted, Gillette in northeast Wyoming is an extreme example of a place at risk from a hurricane, but hurricanes and other distant events (fires in California, strikes in Canada, avalanche in Colorado - any number of possibilities) can easily impact life in Gillette.

We live in a world of inter-dependencies.

If the News-Record can't print its newspaper, the Wyndham hotel and nine other lodges can't advertise locally. That might mean a drop in room occupancy that leads to layoff of housekeeping staff that causes them to cut back on expenses that could impact Albertsons and other markets.

Domino effect.

Any organization management that thinks protecting IT is all it needs to survive an "event" is on the brink of its own disaster.

Any organization with management that thinks what happens "somewhere else" can't impact its organization is something beyond foolish.

There recently was a little matter of the US economy.

A few mortgage lenders suffered, but the Man in the Street?

Yes, and how! Some of those "Men in the Street" now LIVE on the street. These people were neither mortgage lenders nor did they have a financial interest in the mortgage lenders.

What about the guy in England or China? Haruhiko Kuroda, president of the Asian Development Bank, sais the current global economic crisis "has erased $50 trillion in wealth around the world." (See http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2009-03/2009-03-08-voa23.cfm?CFID=221972241&CFTOKEN=35830828&jsessionid=6630bda66f4b6713f6d0505a6277a4480353)

Did the US financial crisis, caused at least in part by financial shenanigans, also drive Chrysler and GM into bankruptcy ?

Is the Federal government's attempted bailout of Big Banks and Big Business going to force the US taxpayer into bankruptcy?

For want of a nail ...

What happens when a hurricane strikes very likely will impact distant communities, even if only indirectly.

John Glenn, MBCI, SRP
Enterprise Risk Management/Business Continuity practitioner
Ft. Lauderdale FL
Planner @ JohnGlennMBCI.com

No comments: