The importance of business continuity plans for
post MCO COVID-19
With the aim to educate the public on the minimisation of operational risks posed to employees and stakeholders, UTAR Division of Community and International Networking (DCInternet) organised a webinar, titled “Post MCO COVID-19 Business Continuity” on VOOV meeting platform on 8 May 2020. Delivered by UTAR Faculty of Business and Finance (FBF) Dean Dr Au Yong Hui Nee, the two-hour webinar saw a total of 75 participants.
The webinar primarily focused on three key areas, namely Business Continuity with People, Assets and Process; Managing Operational Disruptions in Supply Chain; and Responses Against Employee’s Safety and Health.
Dr Au Yong kick-started the webinar by thanking the participants for their time and enthusiasm in joining the talk online. In her talk, she explained, “When confronting a crisis like COVID-19, it is important for organisations to identify whether the situation controls them or they control the situation. It is common for us to be afraid if we do not know what the future holds for us. Therefore, it is vital for each organisation to standby with a proper business continuity plan.” She added, “Business continuity management is a framework to identify an organisation’s risk to internal and external threats including pandemic outbreaks.”
She said when a business continuity plan is in place, the organisations will be able to maintain their business operations and become disaster recovery-ready. Among the matters that they have to look into are the emergency contacts, infectious disease handbooks, standard operating procedures for operation shut-down and restart, and return to work policies.
She also enthused, “To minimise the challenges that would be faced by employers due to the shortage of employees, the employers should be ready with back-up plans at various levels of operational matters. For instance, in the current situation, the employers should also be prepared with their Post Movement Control Order (MCO) COVID-19 measures, such as screening process, management of close contacts, and virus prevention and infection control. In addition to that, we also need to adhere to all the safety measures and new norms in order to keep ourselves away from the virus. Among the new norms that will be part of us are wearing face shields and masks, maintaining physical/social distancing, practising frequent hand wash and sanitise, embracing new knowledge about the disease and following travel restrictions in order to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
The webinar also touched on business transformation opportunities. The employers and employees must also adapt to changes such as the norm to work from home, virtual meetings, online learning and so on. These changes also create a way for e-Commerce. Besides, employers are also advised to use artificial intelligence to deal with suspected or infected patients.
The webinar ended with a Q&A session posted by participants.
Dr Au Yong holds a PhD degree in Technology Management from Universiti Sains Malaysia, a graduate of MA Economics from the University of Tsukuba in Japan and Bachelor of Science (Hons) Resource Economics from Universiti Pertanian Malaysia. She is the Dean of the Faculty of Business and Finance, UTAR. She is a certified safety and health officer and Member of the Malaysian Institute of Management. She has published over thirty articles in indexed journals - Web of Science (ISI) and Scopus Journal and Conference Proceedings Lists. She serves as a reviewer for eleven WoS (ISI)-indexed international journals and an editorial board member of two international peer-review journals. Her work was covered by the national media, magazines, TV and digital media. Dr Au Yong was trained in an investment bank. Prior to joining academia, she held management positions in technology and the public sector. Furthermore, Dr Au Yong's extensive industry and research expertise have led to much success. She has been involved in several research and consulting projects. She has received research grants to the amount of RM500,000 between 2015 and 2019. She is a recipient Malaysian Institute of Management Tun Razak Youth Leadership Award, Japanese Government Monbukagakusho Scholarship, and a winner of Best Paper Awards and Best Oral Presentation Award.