Business Continuity Standards: Seeing Returns

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Posted 2008-09-25 Print this article Print

This case study on Repligen, a pharmaceutical company, takes a close look at the benefits and costs of applying business continuity and disaster recovery standards through a certified program. One expert in the field argues that companies should go slow with this process and examine all costs associated with it before deciding on a competing standard. Cerifications are a business, but real cost benefits can come in the form of customer loyalty and more efficient auditing, as well as streamlining business continuity processes.

Seeing Returns
Whitehouse says that it was easy to get executive buy-in to the project, though, because they felt the returns justify the spend.

“We feel it is really important to protect our piece of the supply chain because ultimately it could impact patients getting drugs,” Whitehouse says. “There are just so many business and human reasons why we feel the investment is really appropriate.”

Because BS25999 was built to integrate with ISO standards, Whitehouse says that Repligen is seeing that integration work between the processes they put in place for BS25999 certification and those quality control processes enacted for their long-standing ISO 90012000 certification.

“There are a number of synergies between ISO and BS25999, so we have some cost savings there,” she says.

The company also hopes that they will see cost savings in the auditing department. Once outside auditors recognize what goes into a BS25999 certification, the company believes it will be much easier and cheaper for it to go through that process.

“I think this first audit will be in part an education about as to what the BS25999 is, but in general, if I think about other standards like ISO, if a company like ourselves is certified to ISO, the industry knows what that means so they know what to expect of our quality management system,” she says, “so when they come here, their level of steps in audits is very different than if we just had a homegrown quality management system.”

Plus, Repligen is really reaping the benefits of introspection necessary to implement a fully fleshed out BCM system. “As you learn more of the details of the business you identify not only ways to protect it, but you identify ways to do things better as well,”  Whitehouse says. “It’s a very valuable tool.”

Most importantly, though, is the return in customer goodwill that Repligen hopes to see as a result of its efforts. Repligen is already leveraging the work it has done to really communicate its commitment to BCM and really get some bang for its buck by sending out memos to customers and including the certification information in its investment prospectus.

“We hope that it’s going to be a differentiating factor with potential competitors,” Whitehouse says. “We feel that it’s the right investment to make to continue to satisfy our customers, to continue to maintain the position that we have in the marketplace.”

Which goes to show, Berman of DRII says, that no matter what framework or standard an organization uses the biggest benefit besides overall preparedness is customer satisfaction.

“It is part of what the US government has been trying to find out—what is the reward at the end of the rainbow for companies to do this?” Berman says. “I've been preaching for  a long time that, besides being more prepared, the only reward is it will make your customers happy.”


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