Keep a phone list handy. Have a call tree plan in place, as well as quick access to employees’ and key vendors’ phone numbers. Also, ensure your staff can access the phone tree, so they are as prepared as possible. Before a disaster strikes, assign critical communication roles to key people to keep your team informed during and after a disaster. This way everyone is aware of the steps to take to reopen the business.
Keep up-to-date inventory records. Create, maintain, and protect easily accessible inventory records for your merchandise, as well as all your business personal property (i.e. office equipment, shop tools, and lab instruments). A central strategy of effective disaster-recovery planning is to ensure you can quickly substantiate your covered claims to expedite an insurance settlement. Keeping a copy of this up-to-date information protected at an off-site location is one of the smartest things a prepared jeweller can do. (For best practices for inventory record keeping, see the July 2015 issue of Jewellery Business).
Your inventory records should include a detailed listing of all stock for sale, customers’ goods, memorandum items, and merchandise that’s temporarily away from your business. Create a file with the following:
- a list describing merchandise in such a manner that will trace items to the original source documents (i.e. purchase invoices);
- “¨the value of each item (i.e. your actual cost);
- “¨the date the inventory was taken; and
- the exact total value of all inventory items, not a rounded or estimated value.
Store inventory in a safe. If you are in the path of a hurricane or are at risk for flooding, before the storm, lease a bank safe deposit box located at the highest elevation off the floor. Be sure to place high-value property in individually sealed plastic bags in the safe deposit box and ensure you have insurance coverage for property stored in this manner. Secure as much merchandise as you can inside your safe(s)/vault(s). Merchandise that cannot be secured in the safe deposit box or in your safe/vault should be secured in a locked room inside your protected premises.
Consider supplementing your inventory records by taking photos and a video of your business and merchandise to document any damages and losses to facilitate timely claims.