Much is written about the components of an effective strategic plan and how best to develop one. Previously, we discussed how current FDA and ICH guidance — and the push to manage risk — has triggered a shift in thinking in terms of product and process development in many business sectors.
To develop and manage an effective Business Continuity Plan (BCP), we’ve isolated four major activities, each of which focuses on key elements that drive your business (Figure 1). The first step in moving toward an effective BCP is to conduct a Business Impact Analysis (BIA), based on your organization’s long-term strategic goals that accounts for the key elements of your organization.
Consider the categories listed below when calculating your organization’s risk in the face of a catastrophic event.
The Risk Assessment (RA) phase consists of prioritizing the identified business disruptions based upon severity and likelihood of occurrence, and will have a profound impact on the effectiveness of the final BCP. During the RA, business process and business impact assumptions will be stressed using different threat scenarios, based upon severity and likelihood of occurrence. Now, with a clear picture of the prioritized threats to the organization, the next step is Risk Management itself, which involves developing a business continuity plan to describe the steps necessary to mitigate risk. The final step establishes a program that ensures your plan remains relevant as your organization grows Review this plan on an annual basis to ensurethe policies and procedures reflect the current needs of the company. A clearly articulated BCP forms the foundation for business performance and is strategic to the long-term health of your organization. The headlines, filled with debates on pandemic preparedness and potential terrorist threats, highlight the need to define and align key communication and business corridors in the event of a catastrophe. Yet, despite the use of time-proven methodologies, such as Balanced Scorecards and Strategy Maps for strategic planning, many organizations have not integrated Business Continuity Planning into their overall strategic thinking. A BIA will help you focus on identifying the effect of non-specific events on your businessprocesses and customers. You may integrate this activity with other analysis tools such as a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats), Johari window, and market analysis exercises to ensure all critical aspects of the business are addressed.
As you evaluate each category, study the possible risk to each organizational element, estimate the maximum time allowable to recover, and analyze the cost of being out of operation. Communication: More than ever, our industry’s nerve center revolves around its information infrastructure, particularly given the industry’s use of contract manufacturing (CMO) and research (CRO) organizations to support clinical and commercial programs. Intellectual Property: Socio-economic issues, such as pandemic outbreaks, may be raised if an organization is unable to provide the therapies required to support customers who depend on them.
If the threat scenarios you develop are too narrow, then the resulting BCP may not adequately protect the organization from an undesirable business interruption.
The result is a series of outcomes, some that have straightforward mitigation requirements and some that require a more involved business continuity plan. A wellwritten BCP documents the strategy, policies, and procedures required to maintain, recover, and stabilize critical business operations after a business disruption.


It is prudent to have the plan reviewed by an external consultant or auditor who is experienced both in your industry and in the establishment of BCPs.
As pharmaceuticaland biotech companies leverage contract organizations around the world, interdependence between each piece of the business model increases. Recently, the SEC implemented NASDAQ’s rule 3510 and 3520,and the New York Stock Exchange implemented rule 446 specifically to ensure business continuity in the event of an unplanned business disruption, such as a terrorist attack. He has been involved in the bio-pharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostics industry for over 20 years.
From this debate, Business Continuity Planning has emerged as a central component to overall corporate well-being that all sectors of business recognize.1But with the globalization of our business practices comes greater probability for business disruption, as organizations attempt to align cultures, languages, and customs into cohesive business entities. While no one hopes for a disaster, defining the problem and taking steps to keep your organization in business can make the difference between surviving to fight another day and becoming a casualty. From this analysis, you can articulate a recovery roadmap and set milestones as part of the tactical rollout. For instance, if the facility is an aseptic operation, what would be the impact of a breach to the sterile core?
What would the impact be if this workforce were disrupted and were not available to support manufacturing (as in the case of Hurricane Katrina)? What would the impact be if these communication ties were lost, or worse, if data were lost? Procurement, warehousing, material handling, and distribution require visibility into the current production stream and forecasted demand stream.
Often Biotech processes, even those with identical fermentation and purification equipment, do not behave the same way when transferred to alternate equipment. Our internal process and external process (recall, adverse events, etc.) are predicated on access to these documents.
For that reason, you may need multiple manufacturers with available capacity to make your product. Threat scenarios should address both the business disruption and probability of occurrence, ranging from low-impact, high-probability threats, such as a brief power outage, to high-impact, low-probability threats, such as an earthquake or a terrorist attack. While it is impossible to consider all threats to a business’s operation, your plan should be flexible enough to adapt to changing threat scenarios. A word to the wise: choosing a BCP auditor from outside the regulated life sciences industry may add risk to your assessment given the unique regulatory and process constraints associated with manufacturing drug products. An organization’s inability to progress against these strategic objectives can have a profound effect on the organization and its shareholders.
His expertise includes site selection, project management, design, and validation of facilities for both U.S. This column takes a deeper look at laying out a Business Continuity Plan for your organization.


Is there a geographically separate facility available that could support the products manufactured in the facility? Configuration management considerations for all components are central to ensuring quality and regulatory compliance. An inability to recover critical documentation may not put only future products in jeopardy, but also product currently in the field.
If your organization has a legacy BCP, you shouldcompare it against your updated risk assessment summaries. While high-probability threats may at first seem like the higher priority, it is the low-probability threats that are the more complex for which to prepare.
Your detailed BCP will describe the crisis management organization structure including decision-making and plan-execution processes such as financing,resource management, and communication platforms. Finally, update your plan to reflect changes in key personnel and organizational structure.
More importantly, in the event of life-sustaining therapies, it can have a huge impact on society and the population at large. The roll-through impacts of withdrawing critical therapies cannot support the current regulatory requirements can greatly affect your business as well as the customers that rely on these products. A balanced perspective in preparation will be essential to avoid following the path of least resistance. A BCP Process flow-down chart is shown in Figure 2 and contains all four elements of theprocess we’ve described. By following the four phases necessary to develop a comprehensive BCP, an organization can pursue the opportunities presented by emerging countries in terms of manufacturing and clinical expertise aswell as mitigate global threats to their business operations. Incidents that affect a single user will be responded to within x minutes, and will start diagnosing in x minutes.
The availability of qualified alternate suppliers may be critical to ensuring ongoing operations.
When assessing the probability of a threat, the RA should consider geographical location (floodplain, access to water for processing) and proximity to critical infrastructure (power stations, points of national interest, airports, etc.). Classical risk analysis tools such as a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA), Fault Tree Analysis, or your own organization’s proprietary analysis methodology may all be used in the assessment. At the conclusion of the exercise, the RA should summarize and prioritize the threatsto the organization’s ability to meet its strategic initiatives.



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