Crisis Management Case Study: Global Manufacturing
Preparing for Operational Disruption
Fortune 500 corporation with global manufacturing and service operations, a complex supply chain, and a strong private and government customer base
A geographically decentralized senior leadership team needed to figure out how to respond to the very realistic possibility of a major crisis. At stake for the company was business disruption, stock price implosion and future freedom to operate.
We designed a realistic and escalating crisis simulation exercise that challenged the client’s senior leadership from every operational aspect.
As an old economy company in a culturally unpopular industry, our client was used to being challenged by outside activists, regulators and other disruptors. A team of senior executives, eager to train for the most disruptive of crises, made time during a week-long leadership gathering in Washington, D.C., for an intense, full-day exercise to hone their operational response skills before a real crisis strikes.
We devised a full-day, intensive training for 25 executives, where a terrorist attack on foreign soil bled into their international and U.S. operations, decimating their headquarters and production line, killing and injuring staff and creating escalating havoc for the organization’s leaders.
Beginning with team assignments based on operational functions and roles within the simulation (chairman’s office, human resources, finance, communications, supply chain, etc.), as one crisis event or element was addressed by the participants another challenge was thrown into the mix. Using multimedia and all forms of real-time communication, our expert trainers continually challenged the participants.
Divided into three sections—a minor problem, a major problem and a catastrophe—the simulations were all related to an initial catalyst. Within each of the three sections many unique details were introduced as each section unfolded, ensuring there was never a dull moment. After each section we debriefed with participants in a group to critique their performance and identify their challenges before moving onto the next element.
To conclude the training, we held a free-form discussion that allowed the leadership team to address any other observations or issues the simulation uncovered.
A one-of-a-kind operational challenge and team-building exercise that united a corporate leadership team that functions in different offices and roles globally, and ultimately gave them a trial run on a very real potential crisis