When disaster strikes

Jo Francis
Thursday, April 28, 2016

Jo Francis wonders whether Polestar's publishing clients have suitable disaster recovery plans in place.

PrintWeek has written a lot about disaster recovery plans over the years, and the importance of this area of business planning even though it’s a plan nobody wants to have to enact.

There are some great articles in our archive about it, including examples of businesses where the worst actually has happened – think Buncefield – and how they coped with it.

Earlier this week, after Polestar’s main print sites were placed into administration a seasoned, and remarkably relaxed, Polestar customer said to me: Let’s face it, anyone who prints with Polestar has got to have a Plan B or a Plan C – you just have to.”

I’m wondering what that Plan B or Plan C is for various publishers right now, some of whom must be staring into the abyss.

How many of these blue-chip publishers have a disaster recovery plan for the doomsday scenario where their printer goes bust? That day of judgement has arrived.

Who will be found wanting? Of particular interest is, of course, Time Inc UK whose US-based procurement chief Guy Gleysteen made the bold/brave/bonkers [delete as applicable] decision to put all his eggs in the Polestar basket in 2014.

If Time Inc had stuck with a dual supplier option Wyndeham would have been ready to step into the breach now to help out a key client.

Whether the door at Wyndeham Towers remains open I do not know, but Time Inc’s options have become somewhat narrower should the worst happen. Wyndeham closed down a factory as a result of that contract loss.

I’m sure that other printers are scrambling to help, should help be needed, including continental players who have scented an opportunity. Some of them have been building up quite a lot of new business over the past few months anyway.

If they haven't already, publishing CFOs should be dusting off those DR plans and running the numbers on what the impact would be on their own business should they be suddenly unable to publish.



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