SAO PAULO, BRAZIL, IS IN THE MIDST of its worst drought in nearly a century. Taps are running dry, sporadic water cutoffs have been imposed, and officials there say the rationing will continue for the foreseeable future.
While The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company hasn’t been impacted yet, the situation could present a challenge for the company, which has five facilities in the Sao Paulo area, including a manufacturing plant, said Michael Janko, Goodyear’s director of global business continuity and a longtime member of the NFPA 1600 technical committee. If there is a disruption, Janko said, Goodyear will be ready.
For more than a decade, Goodyear has used a business continuity plan built using a combination of NFPA 1600®, Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs, and the Disaster Recovery International Institute’s 10 Professional Practices. “Our process includes identifying risks and the processes that are critical for our organization to keep functioning, and then determining what is necessary to respond and recover during an incident,” Janko said. “That is what business continuity is, and a big part of resilience is being able to execute that plan.”
To plan for such risks—and to manage if those risks materialize—Goodyear formed a Business Continuity Governance Committee, which sets policies and procedures. In addition, each region of the company—North America; Latin America; Asia; Europe/Middle East and Africa; Asia Pacific; and the company headquarters in Akron, Ohio—has a business continuity leader whom Janko meets with monthly and who implements the committee’s policies.
Water is critical for manufacturing processes like tire production. Five months ago, when Brazil’s water problem began, Goodyear alerted its business continuity team and managers in the Latin American region to look at water efficiency within those plants. Each of Sao Paulo’s five facilities were also asked to identify plans to mitigate the water shortage impact on Goodyear’s employees, its facilities, and business operations.
“As we’re doing this, our suppliers are telling us the water shortage is so bad they may have to ration product to us and everyone else,” Janko said. “So we proactively created a presentation for suppliers that shared some steps Goodyear is taking to help mitigate the water shortage, which they could do as well.” Goodyear has a strategy to conserve and recycle water, and almost all facilities utilize closed-loop cooling systems for water used for cooling materials and equipment.
Consistent with NFPA 1600, Goodyear takes an all-hazards approach to emergency management planning. Because of the nature and scope of its operations—50 facilities in 22 countries, employing about 69,000 people—the company must deal with everything from hurricanes and supply-chain issues to collective bargaining disputes and information technology disruptions.
Goodyear began developing its business continuity plan in earnest shortly after 9/11. Since then, the company has addressed hundreds of incidents around the world—40 percent of those, like the Brazilian drought, were incidents lasting longer than a week. After each major incident, Janko and his teams conduct a gap analysis process to improve and share lessons learned with all of the regions. When a new threat is identified—such as the Ebola virus—plans and procedures are modified to address the threat and are shared with the global teams.
Considering 85 percent of the critical infrastructure in the U.S. is in the private sector, most commissions, agencies, and experts agree that urging businesses to develop resiliency and continuity plans with tools such as NFPA 1600 is essential. However, the importance of having these plans is not always presented correctly to businesses, said Don Bliss, NFPA’s vice president of field operations. “If you were a company, would you respond better to being told you must do something, or by being shown how this is going to help your business?” Bliss said.
Janko urged other businesses to adopt continuity strategies of their own. “Those who question using NFPA 1600 need to be shown how this adds business value,” Janko said. “People struggle to find a one-size-fits-all process that will work for everyone, but there is no such thing. You have to find what works in your own organization. Use the tools available, like NFPA 1600, use the leadership skills you have, and things will start to take off.”