Table of Contents
An emergency plan is one of the most important factors in a company that contributes to its success. By definition, the emergency plan is a well-structured course of actions developed to mitigate a potential damage caused by a hazardous event that can affect the organization or its employees. The determinants of the emergency plan vary from one company to another depending on the production process. The importance of the plan cannot be underestimated (Vendrell, 2001). In fact, nowadays, the law of the majority of countries requires various businesses to have the emergency plan to ensure the safety of both employees and the public. The current paper examines the emergency plan of Ford Motor Company that aims at preventing fire or mechanical failure in the production units of the industry.
A good emergency plan should be accepted by the administration, employees, and the community surrounding the organization (Jenkins, 2010). Acceptability presupposes that the program can meet the requirements and comply with the set work scheme. Secondly, for the plan to be accepted, it needs not to exceed the estimated budget. Research shows that most emergency plans fail because the cost of their implementation is usually higher than expected.
The aspect of staff members is paramount to the emergency plan since employees are the individuals who put the contingency plan into action. The Ford Motor’s emergency plan has the acceptability factor because all employees in the organization feel that the plan is appropriate (Ford, 2015). Moreover, most employees in the production consider the plan well-thought and comprehensive to ensure their safety. Thus, workers have no problem putting the plan into action. Secondly, the plan does not exceed the company’s budget. However, the company has extra costs, such as workers compensation packages and additional equipment, but the whole amount of money falls within the budget constraint. The acceptability also entails the community surrounding the organization to accept the emergency plan. Consequently, the society surrounding the production plant is educated about the emergency plan (Vendrell, 2001). Therefore, the community feels comfortable putting the plan into action in case of fire or a blast that can affect the company and the environs.
Adequacy is a factor that is challenging to incorporate in the emergency plan. Naturally, it entails the idea to have an organized plan considering all factors affecting the company (Jenkins, 2010). A good adequate plan should include reasonable and attainable assumptions that should also be relevant to the object of the business plan.
The Ford Motor’s emergency plan is adequate because it offers guidance to individuals in the organization in case of any disaster. Furthermore, the firm provides a step-by-step guidance to all workers to ensure safety. For example, the plan entails the course of actions when the company experiences fire (Coles, 1990). In particular, the program requires the employees to evacuate the room immediately and, if possible, turn off the machines and close all doors and windows to contain the fire. Secondly, workers should call 911, activate the alarm, and notify the emergency service organization (Ford, 2015). Also, workers should not use elevators. Thus, the emergency plan clearly offers a useful guide to employees, which is simple for workers to understand. The project also educates staff members on the measures undertaken when faced with a hazard such as fire. The assumptions, according to the scheme, would be able to contain the fire and, at the same time, save lives of employees (Lu, 2010). For instance, assuming there is fire, workers will not be confused, and the situation will be under control, hence preventing other disasters. However, the company should also train the workers and offer seminars to ensure the effective implementation of the emergency plan.
Completeness entails the plan incorporating all the aspects of the organization. Furthermore, the objectives should be directly linked to the task (Jenkins, 2010). It is worth indicating that the percentage of completeness of the plan determines its efficiency. The work suggested in the plan should comply with its objectives.
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The Ford Motor’s emergency plan has the aspect of completeness. The plan is structured by risk the organization can face while in the process of production. It entails some of the risks such as fire, explosions, chemical and biological spill, and radiation. Therefore, the company devised an emergency plan relevant to the risk. In particular, the objectives include solving the disaster caused by fire, explosion, chemical and biological spill, and radiation while the task is to explain the disaster as indicated in the plan (Coles, 1990). The objectives of the plan are directly related to the objectives of the organization.
Secondly, the completeness of the plan entails all the personnel and stakeholders affected by disasters, ranging from the directors of the company funding the program and employees working in the organization. The aspect ensures all stakeholders are comfortable with the plan.
Lastly, completeness presupposes that the plan should have a real-time framework of meeting the objectives. The Ford Motor’s emergency plan moderates the cost of implementing the emergency plan to ensure that it does not affect the revenue. The company provides all the resources available, such as fire extinguishers (Ford, 2015). The company also has a well-structured emergency plan during the high production seasons, when the probability of a crisis occurrence is high. Particularly, the emergency department employs more personnel to help with the workload in the case of the crisis.
Consistency and Standardization
Research shows that the likelihood of a crisis happening in most organizations is less than 10%. This aspect has made the majority of the companies less vigorous in designing the emergency plan. As a result, they neglect the consequences of the crisis when it happens. A good contingency plan should have the aspect of consistency and standardization. Consistency, in this case, entails that the plan, the emergency plan documentation, and the necessary resources should be reviewed and examined over and over again (Jenkins, 2010). Ford Motor has incorporated the approach quite well. For instance, the company occasionally conducts fire drills (Ford, 2015). The exercises entail creating a fake containable fire to research on how the employees will react to the situation. The activities have helped the company evaluate its disaster preparedness and management. In some instances, the company will find loopholes in the emergency plan and thus will able to improve with time.
On the other hand, standardization is the process of making the whole emergency plan adhere to the technical standard. Complying with standards makes the whole plan simple, hence the process of making the decision easy. Ford Motor Company’s emergency plan is standardized, making sure an individual knows what to do in case of fire. The procedure makes the decision-making process easier and more straightforward in the enterprise.
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Providing adequate resources for emergencies is one of the most challenging factors in emergency planning. Most resources required are expensive, and the organization should ensure that it does not exceed the budget limit and, at the same time, has a well-structured emergency plan (Lu, 2010). However, researchers have evaluated that it is possible to balance both aspects and ensure that the project is feasible.
The organization can maintain feasibility in two ways. First, the company can make sure that the resources are balanced between various departments and branches of companies. For instance, is there are two plants in one region, the emergency plan should accommodate both plants. The emergency unit can provide more than two firms depending on the size. The method is quite effective because the probability of all firms having a crisis at the same time is minimal. On the other hand, if all plants experience hazards at the same time, managing the crisis will be more difficult.
Secondly, the company can require help and coordination from external crisis management systems. In the case of Ford Motor, the organization has developed a well-structured emergency department that will maintain the situation with the available resources until it receives help from external sources. The business emergency department is affiliated with the state department of disaster management control. As mentioned earlier, in the case of fire, employees are supposed to notify the emergency department and, at the same time, call 911. By calling 911, the organization is seeking extra help from the government disaster management systems (Ford, 2015). Sometimes, firms tend to use the external emergency disaster systems such as the government since they are readily available and profitable. Ford Motor also ensures that it hires enough personnel in the emergency unit together with resources to control the situation. The staff also receives regular training on how to react to different hazardous situations such as fire and radiation spill.
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A good emergency plan should be flexible to incorporate all the officers in the company to avert or mitigate the expected crisis. Research shows that most crises in organizations are caused by the incompetence of the company’s emergency plan. The plan only considers a few hazards; thus, when the company faces a new disaster, it lacks adequate methods to handle the situation. The personnel should also be distributed and educated about the crisis, hence ensuring balance (Lu, 2010). The probability of each accident happening is equal; thus, the company should make sure that it does not favor one over another. Flexibility also ensures that the organization has the ability of decentralization (Jenkins, 2010). During a disaster, the decision-making process should be quick to provide a prompt response. Therefore, the department should be given the mandate to make a decision on how to control the situation. It should be emphasized that a slow decision-making process adversely influences the situation because it causes a slow response to the emergency.
The Ford Motor’s emergency plan is flexible enough. First, the plan incorporates a number of hazards that the organization is likely to face. The company’s contingency plan incorporates risks such as fire, explosion, chemical or biological spill, radiation discharge, or electric defaults (Ford, 2015). Based on the company’s production activity, these hazards have the highest probability of occurrence, hence affecting the business (Vendrell, 2001). Nevertheless, the company might not have covered all expected crises which can affect its performance. Though the organization has included the factors that have the highest probability, covering all the hazards might be expensive for the company and exceed the budget limit. Furthermore, the company’s emergency plan is flexible in decision making because there is an emergency unit. The unity is mandated to make the decision during a crisis without receiving orders from the management.
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Interoperability and Collaboration
Interoperability and collaboration of an emergency plan are paramount to its success. The contingency plan should guarantee the coordination between all stakeholders related to the company. Most companies assume that stakeholders are the only people relevant to the enterprise. However, the community is also a stakeholder since, if the crisis happens, it will affect the environment. In addition, all the parties concerned should coordinate to ensure that the emergency plan is well-structured. Stakeholders contribute to the development of ideas that help to build a comprehensive plan that can meet the objectives. Ford Motor as a company has a good collaboration plan. The tree of decision making makes the collaboration easier for the enterprise (Ford, 2015). The production plants coordinate with the emergency unit whereas employees coordinate directly with the management. They also coordinate with authorities, ensuring the company has a good contingency plan with all available resources.
Testing the emergency plan is one of the vital steps in planning. The process entails testing the whole process and evaluating whether it can be effective. Research shows that many emergency plans fail because they have not been evaluated. The evaluation helps to determine whether the exercise has enough personnel and resources to be successful.
One of the ways of testing an emergency plan is a field exercise. This process includes simulating the expected emergency in the most realistic manner without moving the personnel. The whole idea is to test the reaction anticipated in the emergency plan. During the process, the atmosphere is usually stressful and requires the staff to be able to handle the pressure since the situation is similar to reality. The whole procedure requires careful scripting to ensure it works well; moreover, it is lengthy to conduct the entire process. In line with the Ford Motor’s emergency plan, the company can simulate an emergency similar to that proposed in the plan and evaluate the response. The whole process will help the organization to determine whether the contingency plan can fulfill its purpose. Furthermore, the testing procedure will assist the organization in determining whether it has enough available resources and in identifying the loopholes in the plan. The most important thing to note is that the whole exercise is supposed to be cost friendly; therefore, the actual resources are not deployed to the emergency area.
Contrary to the field exercise, tabletop exercise entails discussing the emergency plan in a stress-free area. Usually, the facilitator conducts the whole discussion in less stressful places, such as conference rooms or even open areas. The whole idea is to promote free thinking without stress so that individuals can be open minded to find solutions quickly. All stakeholders are to contribute to the process, ensuring that there are no loopholes. The testing exercise is modest and provides the individual discussion of the plan, analysis of previous event occurrences, as well as the development of ideas to help to fill gaps. In addition, the method is cost friendly in relation to resources and personnel. However, the whole idea lacks realism because the lack of simulators makes it harder to have a factual estimation.
The Ford Motor’s emergency plan can be tested using the tabletop exercise. First, the company can organize conferences in various departments to ensure that employees understand the plan adequately. Second, some units can hold meetings with different simulators and present the information to other departments. The whole process will help to evaluate whether all departments of the company understand the emergency plan effectively.
Talk Through Exercise
Furthermore, one can test an emergency plan through talk through exercise. The whole process entails a simple yet sensitive procedure. Talk through technique involves discussing in detail whether the contingency plan is applicable. The discussion involves all stakeholders in the company, including the management and employees. Evaluating whether the emergency plan can be applied in the real life based on the discussion is a simple process. This exercise allows one to identify the level of people’s understanding and, at the same time, evaluate their personal views on the plan. An emergency plan will be applicable if the majority of stakeholders understands it. Secondly, the implementation of the emergency plan depends on whether stakeholders have a positive feedback on it. If a plan has a positive feedback and stakeholders identify fewer challenges in its application, the emergency plan has a high probability of succeeding in the real life. Also, the analysis helps the organization to determine the loopholes in the plan and identify demerits, such as resources, that may hinder the emergency plan from working.
The Ford Motor’s emergency plan can be tested using the talk through technique by organizing seminars and evaluating individual views on each situation. The plan will help the organization establish some factual opinion about the emergency plan, thus evaluating whether the personnel has the confidence in the plan. Higher personnel confidence level means that the emergency plan will likely work.
Walk Through Exercise
Lastly, an emergency plan can be tested through the walk through procedure. This exercise entails the emergency team doing the whole procedure. The whole idea is to familiarize the emergency department with the risk and how it should be handled. In line with the Ford Motor’s emergency plan, the emergency department together with the management and the staff can do a walk through exercise to determine whether the emergency plan is conducive. The emergency plan will assist in coordinating between departments in the company and, therefore, can test whether the agencies collaborate (Coles, 1990). The facilitator is to ensure that each unit in the company has a team leader and communicates with all of them. If the walk through exercise shows that the groups in the firm are collaborating, the business plan has higher chances of being successful.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Setting up an emergency plan that meets criteria such as completeness, acceptability, adequacy, consistency and standardization, feasibility, flexibility, and collaboration is challenging. The organization considers many factors such as the cost of setting up the whole project and, at the same time, maintaining profits in the company. It is also challenging to incorporate all the stakeholders to be able to understand the emergency plan. However, the emergency plan is vital for the company to be able to sustain itself during a crisis. Preventing a disaster is advisable since it has fewer casualties compared to the catastrophe happening. Ford Motor Company has a well-thought emergency plan that takes into consideration all relevant hazards that are likely to affect the company. The project also entails many resources used to ensure the company is ready for mitigating the disaster.
Businesses in the United Arab Emirates should develop the emergency plan as a benchmark, thereby guaranteeing that the companies are ready for any hazard affecting the organization. Furthermore, buildings that accommodate many people in the country should use the emergency plan as an example, ensuring all the residents are safe. The question is whether the organization and the country, in general, can the crisis from happening. The question is difficult to answer because the forces of nature control the events at times. However, with dedication and a good emergency plan, one can control the magnitude of causalities.