Risk management often comes to mind reactively, as a result of something happening in your business, or someone else’s.
For instance, you may have contractors coming in to work on your premises, or you may have read a news article on a local fire.
But in recent times, our risk awareness may be less of a reaction to a previous event in our workplace and more a proactive response as a result of the changes faced by many Australian and overseas businesses.
We have all seen and witnessed many emerging risks and greater uncertainty in the past year and they may often feel as though they are out of our control.
For many business owners, it can be easy for risk management to get pushed to the bottom of the ‘to do’ pile.
We all know it’s important, and it is something that we should think about, but with so much else to do it’s hard to find the time to do anything beyond complying with regulations and applying common sense.
AN ONGOING TASK
With so many changes during COVID-19 – from lockdown, to the opening and re-shutting of businesses (then opening again!), ensuring you complete risk assessments is more important than ever.
Many businesses see a business risk assessment as an annual task, where in fact it needs to be completed multiple times throughout the year as the risk landscape continually alters.
As businesses return to work in 2021, assessments may need to be repeated often, as the operational environment continually evolves.
NEW YEAR, NEW CHANGES
During 2020 we discovered the unique opportunity for brokers to work directly with their clients in performing remote assessments.
As restrictions ease, we can return to a more traditional on site or face-to-face assessment.
If you can’t be present, working with your client using a screen-share broadcast on Zoom, Teams or other existing online platforms is a great way for brokers to interact with customers in performing remote assessments alongside a risk check-list.
RISK ASSESMENT APPS
Consider the use of technology as many apps now exist to smooth the process.
For example, the Zurich Risk Advisor app enables users to break their risks down into bitesize chunks, and deal with the issues that are most important to their business without having to set aside long periods of time to complete.
Available to download from your phone’s app store, the ZRA App gives you instant access to the assessments, insights, reports and support you need to continue helping your customers reduce the risks in their business.
SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT
One important ever-changing area of risk is the upstream and downstream supply chain.
We need to regularly assess our incoming materials and supplies, as well as our downstream, outgoing customer purchasing habits and demands.
Upstream and downstream supply chain risks should be regularly assessed, as we now see interruptions that could happen as quickly as overnight.
When we consider recent impacts to imports and exports through sudden changes in buying habits, trade sanctions and tariffs, we need to consider diversification, as part of sound business continuity planning.
With this in mind, consider completing your own supply chain risk assessment.
If you choose the ZRA App, this is a new feature added recently in early December, 2020. It was developed with the broker and customer in mind to help pinpoint where any supply chain interruptions or breakdowns could potentially occur.
For example, we are now in a La Nina weather pattern, which means there are predictions of increasing frequencies of severe weather patterns resulting in flooding or storms.
This could have a significant impact on a small business relying on fresh produce coming from affected areas.
UNDERSTANDING THE IMPACT
Another change recently identified to the consumer supply chain is the increase of online purchasing.
How does this impact their purchasing rhythm and frequency, and what does that mean for suppliers, retailers, and their stockholding inventory?
A change in consumer buying habit can have a ripple effect on manufacturers, logistics, distributors, and retailers.
By conducting a risk assessment in just 10-15 minutes, brokers can help their customers better understand a wide range of risks and provide hints and tips to reduce the impact and frequency of unwanted events.