WASHINGTON, D.C. – The current pandemic has reinforced the need for equipment finance companies to focus on their operational resiliency efforts now and for the long term. Steps to address the needs caused by the crisis and take a more holistic approach to building long-term resilience was the topic of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s May 13 webinar, “Operational Resiliency: Tools for the Pandemic and Beyond.”
A total of 120 industry executives participated in the in-depth, online event presented by Mike Campbell, CEO Fusion Risk Management and former ELFA Board Member; Andy Lapierre, CBCP, ARMP, Senior Vice President & Business Continuity Manager, Frost Bank; and David Nolan, Founder and Strategic Advisor, Fusion Risk Management. They offered their combined experience to provide “lessons learned” and best practices for resiliency planning to address situations whether in a pandemic, natural disaster or other business disruption.
In kicking off the webinar, Campbell noted that no plan, no matter how good, “survives the first shot fired.” He added, however, that while most crisis scenarios are unplannable, that does not mean they are unpreparable. As equipment finance companies consider their resiliency preparedness, below are five highlights from the webinar.
1. Being prepared starts with being informed.
Start with the “information foundation” of how your business works, its processes and its services. Determining how your company’s processes, technology and people work together will help identify where a break in operations may occur so you can prepare, protect and respond to the threat. Nolan noted that a lack of visibility and insight is at the root of frustration for many who are trying to build resiliency, while being informed enables and empowers organizations.
2. Think collectively, act collaboratively.
Many businesses think and act in silos when it comes to areas such as risk management, third-party risk, crisis management, disaster recovery and business continuity. However, in a pandemic or other crisis, needs arise that do not fit neatly into any one silo and cut across response areas. A crisis like the pandemic requires everyone to work together toward the same goal of protecting against anything that could impact your ability to continue to deliver your products and services.
3. Four impact types will determine your fate.
Planning for potential scenarios can be virtually unlimited so it’s helpful to think in terms of how they affect four key “impact types” of a business: workplace, supply chain, workforce and technology. In a natural disaster such as a hurricane, there can be failures in workplace and supply chain conditions to address. In the current pandemic all four impact types have been activated at once.
4. Test on a regular basis.
The best preparation for the redundancy, flexibility and resources required during a disruption will fall short without testing on a regular basis. Lapierre noted that Frost Bank conducts on average six different tests throughout the year, including table-top and full-scale exercises. Getting people familiarized and involved will prepare them to maintain business operations.
5. Failure to prepare has a price.
There are financial, reputation, trust and brand impacts that can result from a failure to prepare. As Nolan noted, “It can take decades to build a brand, and one or two bad experiences to destroy it.” However, some good news during the pandemic is the spirit of empathy and understanding being extended since everyone has been impacted at once. As a result, businesses won’t be judged as harshly as if they were the only ones struggling.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a learning experience to determine if your business is doing what is required for operational resiliency. Now is a good time to capture lessons learned and take the necessary steps so that your business is better prepared for whatever uncertainty the future holds.
A recording of the webinar, webinar slides and two handouts, “After-Action Report Guidelines” and “Fusion Post COVID-19 Planning for a New Normal” are available at www.elfaonline.org/events/2020/WW051320
More Webinars to Come
The May 13 webinar was part of ELFA’s “Wednesday Webinar” series designed to help equipment finance professionals navigate the current market and regulatory landscape and anticipate the changing environment in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The free webinars include live Q&A sessions so participants can connect with experts and colleagues on the issues they are grappling with. All of the events qualify for 1 CPE credit. To register for upcoming webinars or view recordings of past events, go to www.elfaonline.org/events/elearning/web-seminars
The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) is the trade association that represents companies in the nearly $1 trillion equipment finance sector, which includes financial services companies and manufacturers engaged in financing capital goods. ELFA members are the driving force behind the growth in the commercial equipment finance market and contribute to capital formation in the U.S. and abroad. Its 575 members include independent and captive leasing and finance companies, banks, financial services corporations, broker/packagers and investment banks, as well as manufacturers and service providers. For more information, please visit www.elfaonline.org