Are You Ready For Adverse Working Conditions?


AUTHOR: Margaret Gilbert 

The recent extreme weather conditions in the USA shines a light on how and whether we are ready for such an event.

In our ‘backyard’ are the common issues of fire, floods and earthquakes. The question is: how well prepared are you to manage an event and how procurement wold have to be managed differently.

Do your systems and procedures include how to manage? Yes, great. No, then perhaps it is time to take a look.

A floor or fire event is over quite quickly – thank goodness – but this does not apply to aftermath of severe earthquakes in which office space is unusable, transport options are somewhat limited while checks are made or alternative office space is found. What then? Being adaptable is key.

Do you include above event sin your procurement risk assessment? The possible ‘what ifs’ of the options of (a) discontinuing, (b) postponing or (c) letting procurement continue.

For some procurement points 1 and 2 can occur but what if you do not have that option. Thinking ahead is key so you have the answers before you need.

This is effective planning which of course is part of good procurement.

Useful checklist:

  1. How vital is procurement – can it wait?
  2. Having a process in place.
  3. Consider as part of risk management plan?
  4. How flexible is your supply chain?.
  5. If we had to move location or staff – is there a process?
  6. Can staff work from home?

If the discussion has not yet occurred, then perhaps it is time for this to happen…

The question is: how ready are you to continue after an event that has lingering issues?

It is hoped that thinking can occur to consider the above. With recent severe earthquakes in New Zealand, a fair percentage of government agencies had to move offices as their office space was marked as high risk due to structural issues from the earthquake. There had to be staff movement and required a different way of working. From a personal perspective, I now make sure that I take my USB sticks with me which in effect means that I can work from anywhere.

It is not useful to put this issue in the ‘too hard’ basket to think about at a later time. This is not good management and when an event occurs, it is procurement who is asked to ‘fix and find.

This is where having ongoing and positive relationships can get you through the ‘hard times’ and it is useful to consider in this type of situation to treat as a strategic contract.


“Unlocking Value through Collaboration” is  the theme for the 5th Annual PASA Premier ConfeX on 11th & 12th October 2017 at Crown Promenade Melbourne. The programme is packed with case studies and practical advice on how to work more collaboratively. Check out the programme here.



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