Business triage involves allocating limited resources to achieving realistic outcomes

cash flow crisis planning sme Jul 07, 2020

Business triage refers to the process of prioritising work in a crisis when there is more work to do than resources available to do it. The aim of triage is to maximise the outcome and minimise the damage by being realistic about what can be achieved with limited resources.

It is more commonly understood in the medical context, usually in response to prioritising treatment of casualties following disasters or other emergencies.

According to Investopedia, in a business context, “Triage helps companies by enabling them to attend to emergencies quickly, but it also poses risks, as it tends to involve the elimination of certain time-consuming steps that are normally part of the workflow”.

While business triage is normally associated with decision-making and action a crisis, its principles can also be applied to all forms of transformational change.

In my last blog I advised directors that now is a good time to conduct a strategic review of businesses in order to prepare for a resumption of activity as the Coronavirus lockdown eases.

The review may well have revealed processes, and products or services that are no longer viable as well as potential future opportunities and you may be considering re-organising your business to reflect this.

For some of you this may be urgent and you will be embarking on the business triage process to determine the changes you need to make to reduce overheads, perhaps your workforce, and to re-organise the whole business process.

The warning about the risks involved is therefore timely.

If cash flow has plummeted and staff have been furloughed your business may have been relying on reserves, CJRS (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) and CBILS (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme), but reserves may be running down and furlough schemes are being phased out. And, sooner or later the loans will have to be repaid.

These are all important considerations for business triage as you prioritise cash flow by reducing overheads, perhaps by make some staff redundant much of which may be necessary to survive. Once survival is guaranteed then you can consider future plans but for the moment it is important to be mindful of the costs involved, particularly, but not only, of redundancy.

The aim of the business triage process is to emerge as a leaner and fitter organisation, more resilient and more efficient, with processes targeted on the most profitable parts of your business.

Many directors have some tough decisions to make and these will require judgement about priorities and affordability such that they may need to bring in others with the experience of making such decisions.

Both a failure to make decisions early and a failure to make the right decisions may mean that your business won’t survive.

#Triage #Businesstriage #Decisionmaking

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