Business continuity ISO22301 is about planning for an event that could significantly affect your ability to perform. Disasters rarely occur yet many businesses have a disaster recovery plan (DRP), the question is when was the last time a comet fell out of the sky and destroyed a business?

Disruptive events are those events that will inevitably stop a business from performing and will more likely be due to compounded issues “knock-on events”.

Let’s have a look at an example of a disruptive event in action and the possible reason why it took so long to get toilet roll back on the shelves.


Event = Corona Virus takes hold and the possibility of lock down is raised.

Disruptive event = People start panic buying toilet roll.

Result = No toilet roll on the shelves for many weeks.

It might be easy to lay blame and say that the reason is “the Supermarkets didn’t plan for such an eventuality”.

Perhaps we should think again, maybe the Supermarkets did plan for such an event (But probably not!) and the reason it took a number of weeks was because their recovery plan dictated it.

You may think “why” would they do that? It makes no sense not to have toilet roll on the shelves at such a time. The answer could possibly be found in the BCM planning process:



Toilet rolls are bulky and take up a massive amount of volume in; warehouses, goods in areas and most importantly “Road Transportation”.


Transportation space is of a premium when panic buyers have emptied your shelves and essentials such as Milk and Bread need be back on the shelves.


People can find other ways to deal with the problem, such as washing.

The planning would be to determine your recovery points:

  • Week 1-2 = 0 toilet rolls on the shelf (Production will need to catch up)

  • Week 3 = Release of one pallet per store, to be shelved at a rate of 10 packs per day

  • Week 4 = 7 Pallets per store, at a rate of one per day

  • Week 5 = 50% of normal stock quota

  • Week 6 = Full stock profile

The recovery would be based on planned points of recovery, because often for associated reasons we are unable to recover to 100% immediately, as it’s probably impossible!

Business continuity is the ability:

  • To identify what can go wrong.
  • To identify the associate components of the failure; people, areas, processes, products, customers, suppliers etc.
  • To identify the potential results of those failures.
  • To define a recovery plan, the measures required to control the potential failure, before it happens.
  • To identify points of recovery that will allow you to continue your activities even if they are not to full capacity.
  • To identify the methods of how you continue to recover to a point where reinstatement is achieved.

Full reinstatement is not always part of the plan, as an example you may have a machine that is old and hard to source parts for and expensive to repair, the recovery point could be to switch to another machine or cease production, as recovery may not be viable.

Planning for continuity is far better than failing to continue, due to lack of planning, disaster recovery is a component of continuity management but not the whole. Disasters may happen, but recovery from a disruptive event is more the norm for businesses who look to out-survive their competitors.