Step One: Know Your Audience
While your management team may have some knowledge of print-to-mail services, you need to educate them and build their understanding of this important area.
Many companies have operated with a disaster recovery plan (in the event of a natural disaster) for many years, but with the advent of increased security resulting from the war on terrorism, the anthrax scare, and the implementation of new industry-specific regulations, senior management should be focusing its attention not only on business continuity in general, but specifically on print-to-mail recovery needs.
Regardless of what industry your company is in – insurance, healthcare, telecommunications, financial services, or general manufacturing – it is important for you to help your senior management team (CEO, CIO, CFO) recognize the importance of well-defined business continuity strategies, especially those which include print-to-mail recovery.
Step Two: Present Examples of How Print-to-Mail Interruptions Cost a Company
Presenting examples of how your company would be affected by a print-to-mail interruption is an opportunity to educate your management team as well as sell them on the importance of a back-up plan. For example, if your company’s printing and mailing operations are interrupted in any way, subscribers, policy holders, or vendors are not paid, statutory requirements are not met, or customers are not invoiced and your revenue stream is temporarily cut off. By not meeting these important obligations, you may ultimately face the biggest loss of all – your customers.
If there is no plan in place, calculate the revenue your company could lose each day by not printing and mailing your invoices, statements, checks, or other critical documents. Look at the costs associated with resuming operations, including the hiring of temporary employees, repairing or replacing equipment, overtime pay, and extra shipping fees. Check if any fines or penalties could be imposed by regulatory agencies if you fail to deliver your critical documents on time. Also, explain that your company’s executives or board of directors could face potential legal liability should obligations associated with critical documents not be met. In doing so, you could cite the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which requires greater accountability from a company’s officers and directors.
Step Three: Show a Tangible Return on Investment
Needless to say, business continuity and recovery have become essential aspects of corporate governance today. Having a solid business continuity plan instills confidence among both shareholders and influentials on Wall Street, which enhances your company’s stock value. Investors take notice of companies that have a demonstrated procedure in place, especially one that ensures that revenue streams are protected at all costs.
Research conducted by Oxford University revealed that businesses that implemented an effective crisis management plan in response to a large-scale emergency actually gained an average of 7 percent in stock value over the succeeding months, while those perceived to be inadequately prepared lost approximately 15 percent in net value.
Although it is not yet a common practice, it’s not inconceivable that insurance companies could offer rate reductions in the future to companies that have back-up plans in place. While it is a cost savings, a rate reduction puts more money on the bottom line.
Everyone’s business is constantly changing. The most important printed documents four months ago might not be the most essential ones to get to customers today. Many companies test their print-to-mail back-up plan once a year. But many are looking at increasing testing, albeit on a more limited basis, twice a year, or even quarterly, in order to keep their continuity and recovery plans as current as possible.
Through testing of existing print-to-mail plans, many companies have learned how to streamline everyday operations and, therefore, save money.
Step Four: Have a Qualified Print-to-Mail Partner Ready to Help You Sell It
A print-to-mail solutions provider can help you make a strong case for adopting such services. Your provider can help you examine the impact of not having a plan in place and provide you with important statistics about print-to-mail continuity and recovery.
There has never before been a time in our country’s history when implementing a print-to-mail continuity plan was so necessary. Many readers of this publication are probably fortunate to work with a management team that understands the importance of implementing comprehensive business continuity and recovery plans. If not, the task of communicating the importance of print-to-mail must be undertaken.
Ultimately, when weighed against the alternatives, it is imperative to protect your business with sound contingencies designed to protect your critical printed and mailed communications. The percentage of dollars you can invest in a business continuity plan, when weighed against the total revenue lost during a print-to-mail interruption is not only reasonable, but necessary. Ignoring the protection of critical documents that serve as the basis of your revenue stream can mean the difference between a company’s long-term success and failure.
Jerry Montella is general manager of Mail-Gard, a CC3 company, and a leading provider of business continuity and recovery services. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org