The COVID-19 pandemic has proved once again that disaster can strike without warning. As staff at companies around the globe were suddenly unable to work in their offices, many found it almost impossible to function properly in remote settings, where they had poor or no access to their information infrastructure.

Mike Tegtmeyer, Chicago-based AIT Worldwide Logistics’ vice president of infrastructure and security, urges logistics companies to adopt a robust continuity plan to prepare for the next time the unexpected strikes. His primary goal is to empower quarantined workforces to continue working as if they were in the office — and that means the right investments in technology.

“It’s important to make sure that your customers and employees are not affected by the situation,” Tegtmeyer said. “You need to make sure that your back-end servers are equipped with disaster recovery solutions and can run 24/7 so that your employees can access that information to support the customers.”

Investing in versatile business continuity requires that all members of an organization be on the same page. Tegtmeyer recommends IT departments impress upon management the importance of creating a common language within the business to rank technological risks. Companies should then review potential events that could disrupt operations, such as a polar vortex, hurricane or even a global pandemic, to gauge how the company may be affected.

“We have to be salespersons as we try to convince them to invest in these technologies so we can reduce the risk for the company,” Tegtmeyer said.

Not all aspects of a continuity plan are complicated, though. For instance, Tegtmeyer explained that businesses can easily stay connected while working from home by simply issuing laptops to employees instead of desktops, using a cloud-based phone system, as well as utilizing collaboration tools such as apps and software that make it easy for employees to interact on projects.

He points to ways that AIT Worldwide Logistics, a global supply chain management company with more than 60 locations worldwide providing sea, air and ground solutions, benefited from being technologically prepared when the pandemic struck.

“Looking back at our initial response to COVID-19, we learned to make sure that we have enough bandwidth, licensing and computing power to support our workforce in which 90% are currently working remotely,” Tegtmeyer said. “Because we were in good shape, our employees weren’t affected. However, we must continually have our systems ready for any challenge.”

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