New Reports Says Pandemic Preparations Are Likely to Fall Short

A new report issued by Marsh and The Albright Group, titled "Corporate Pandemic Preparedness: Current Challenges to and Best Practices for Building a More Resilient Enterprise," warns that a long-lasting pandemic is not only likely to happen, but overdue and will likely exceed most corporate and governmental leaders' preparations. The report's findings will be discussed by experts during the 5th International Bird Flu Summit, being held today and tomorrow at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev.

Funded through an educational grant by Roche, the report has two primary focuses: social and economic. The social impact looks at the health and well-being of citizens, families, employees, customers, and business partners. The economic impact looks at the potential for disruption of operations and supply chains, as well as diminishing or fluxing demand for products and services.

The report lays out ten best practices that leaders can use to improve their state of preparedness for a pandemic. These steps include:

  1. Treating a pandemic as a truly catastrophic event versus a "manageable disruption"

  2. Establishing pandemic planning committees, supported by an actual budget
  3. Identifying and pre-qualifying alternate sourcing capacity
  4. Incorporating their entire global supply chain—including critical suppliers, customers, and other key stakeholders—into the organization's threat and vulnerability profile
  5. Prioritizing critical products and services and preparing to protect those, even at the expense of other important elements of a business model
  6. Developing a plan that considers the spectrum of response, recovery, restoration, and resumption activities
  7. Identifying critical pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions and procuring them now
  8. Focusing deeply on Human Resources issues, reviewing existing policies and procedures, and, in most cases, updating them in an attempt to provide reasonable accommodations for this special circumstance
  9. Including a communications strategy as a critical element in the pandemic preparedness plan
  10. Estimating and planning for post-pandemic changes, including shifts in demand patterns, in the availability and morale of staff, and in infrastructure, both locally and to vendors.

A free copy of the full the report is available by registering at http://global.marsh.com/risk/pandemic/pandemic2/index.php.

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