This week has seen one of the strongest cases for scenario planning unfold as the volcano in Iceland brings air travel to a halt in Europe.
It would be interesting to find out if any companies had done any planning around such an event and what their mitigation strategy was.
Shell were at the forefront of scenario planning with their Gamechanger programme, developed by Leo Roodhart and colleagues, but even this most comprehensive of programs had not foreseen this type of event. Terrorism, oil depletion, political unrest, flooding, etc, were all covered, but not the cancellation of all flights due to the ‘wrong type’ of ash.
I guess that these type of events cannot be predicted as there are so many possibilities, however, when companies, and in the case of the postal industry, the business of communications, are so reliant on a single mode of transport, then there should be plans in place to ‘work-around’ the loss of any one of the carrier mechanisms.
Although this can be done at a company level – when an industry is dependent on a single mode of transport or resource maybe there is a case for an industry wide view?
So, if we looked at the resources the postal industry needs to operate then we can ‘plan’ for the what-if moment when they are not available:
- Air travel – volcano ash, fuel shortages, terrorism, strikes, mechanical failures, air space restrictions
- Road travel – strikes, fuel blockades, terrorism, earthquake, tornado, major flooding
- Rail travel – strikes, fuel shortages, terrorism, crash, major flooding, earthquake, tornado
- Energy – terrorism, fuel shortages, flooding, strikes,
- Oil – terrorism, political uprising, earthquakes, natural depletion
- Water – contamination, terrorism, global warming
- Paper – Fires, global warming, natural depletion, disease/insect attack
I am sure there will be others and I would be interested in hearing your views. Events such as the volcanic eruption bring to light the fragility of our lives on this planet and our vulnerability to natural disasters. Unfortunately we soon forget when the crisis passes and we go back to our state of peaceful complacency.
We need to get together to understand some of the consequences of the above and build some industry wide scenarios – and more importantly a reasonable response.
Source: Howard Wright