Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL), the UAE’s industrial flagship, which owns and operates one of the world’s largest single-site primary aluminium smelters, has become one of the first industrial enterprises in the country to develop and implement a full Crisis and Business Continuity Management (CBCM) system. The move reflects DUBAL’s commitment to implementing management strategies and processes that will identify and manage possible risk, emergency, crisis and business disruption events associated with all its business activities; and is in keeping both with the company’s pioneering spirit and its quest for continuous improvement.
Abdulla Al Abbar, (Business Continuity Certified Expert (BCCE) and Manager: CBCM, Assets Protection & Loss Prevention) explains what it’s all about. “By definition, Crisis Management is the overall co-ordination of an organizations’ response to a crisis in an effective, timely manner, with the goal of avoiding or minimizing damage to the organizations’ profitability, reputation, or ability to operate. Business Continuity is an essential component of the Crisis and Emergency Management system, as it comprises pre-formulated, well thought-through responses to potential risk events which may significantly impact critical business processes, revenue streams and the safety and wellbeing of employees. As such, Business Continuity Management is a holistic management process that identifies potential impacts which threaten an organization and provides a framework for building resilience with the capability for an effective response that safeguards the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, brand and value creating activities.”
He advises that the development of DUBAL’s Crisis and Emergency Management system began in 2005 when DUBAL conducted Plant Major Incident exercises involving external agencies such as Civil Defence, Police and Police Ambulance services. “We realized that DUBAL needed to develop greater competence in managing crisis and emergency situations. After an extensive global search into the best-available systems, we selected the Crisis/Emergency & Business Continuity Management System best suited to DUBAL’s needs and began implementing the same in December 2006,” Al Abbar explains.
A two-phased approach was taken.
Phase I entailed the formation of Emergency Response Team (ERT), Emergency Management Team (EMT), and Crisis Management Team (CMT) structures. Presentations and drills involving these teams have since been conducted plant-wide on a continuous basis to ensure adequate training and awareness among employees working in critical areas.
Phase II began with a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) in August 2008, facilitated by consultants. This involved one-on-one sessions with Area Owners and their teams to identify critical business functions and discuss elements like key performance indicators, maximum acceptable outage, recovery time objective, current location, alternative location, minimum resources required to function, interdependencies and recovery strategies. Next, a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) was developed, based on the BIA, and finalized in October 2009. This laid the groundwork for DUBAL’s comprehensive CBCM system, which has now been implemented – including the establishment of a dedicated CBCM Department that is responsible for developing DUBAL’s BCP and ensuring effective management of the Business Continuity Management Life Cycle; plus the formulation of Crisis, Emergency & Business Continuity Management policies and procedures.
“The next stage involves embedding CBCM into DUBAL’s culture through training and awareness,” says Al Abbar. “With this in mind, we held a week-long CBCM awareness campaign, from 27 November to 30 November 2011, which gave all DUBAL employees the opportunity to develop an understanding of what they should do in the immediate-term to make their respective business operations flexible and thus adaptable to changing circumstances; and what to do in the case of a business interruption. In addition to distributing an informative booklet on CBCM, the campaign entailed diverse activities such as CBCM presentations, question-and-answer sessions, an online quiz, games and raffle draws.”
Most importantly, the implementation of a CBCM system has enabled DUBAL to achieve best practice in achieving resilience to business interruptions. “Since 2006, DUBAL has developed detailed contingency planning, preparation and practice for business interruptions,” explains Al Abbar. “Ultimately, this knowledge, skill and attitude will enhance DUBAL’s ability to manage risk more effectively and seize business opportunities as they arise.”
Al Abbar concludes by acknowledging the whole-hearted support provided by DUBAL’s executive and senior management teams for both the CBCM system and the CBCM awareness campaign. “This, together with collaboration from other departments, underscores the importance that DUBAL attaches to effective Crisis and Business Continuity Management. Indeed, it is fundamental to our sustainability, to the benefit of the business, our employees and other stakeholders.”