My last blog highlighted the need for disaster planning. With three hurricanes churning up the Atlantic Ocean as I write, that advice may be a little too late for some people. Or you may think your inland location insulates you from business-threatening events. Personal experience with “disasters” has taught me that serious, business-threatening events can happen anywhere — at any time. There is a series of insurance company commercials currently airing that feature humorous takes on claims that, while funny, still ruined the claimant’s day. We once lost a week’s use of our heat treat department because of squirrels. One of the little varmints had apparently developed a taste for plastic insulation and over a period of time he or she chewed through the outside of a high-voltage cable so that it shorted out against the twelve foot high chain link fence intended to keep passers-by safe. Access to said wire insulation was available to said rodent because — many years before — an installer had taken shortcuts in cementing the conduit through the side of the building. Then, at a different location, construction activity two blocks away cut our main power line and damaged a test stand so severely that we had to rebuild the gearbox. That six-month delay for spare parts probably had nothing to do with the client’s eventual bankruptcy two years later, but the knowledge gained from the test results would certainly have lowered the warranty claims between times. Younger readers may not appreciate the loss of intellectual property that was suffered when a water pipe broke over a storage cabinet due to a failed heating system during a holiday shutdown. It led to a strict policy of keeping back-up microfilm records off site at other corporate operations. But we lost the ability to make spare parts for some products for a few months. So trust me on this — you do not need a hurricane to ruin your business. There are plenty of mini-disasters looming out there to rob you of your sleep.