Magazine article Occupational Hazards

How to Build 'Resource Protection' Functions

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

How to Build 'Resource Protection' Functions

Article excerpt

The authors explain a framework for implementing the safety, industrial hygiene, fire protection, security, emergency preparedness and environmental affairs functions.

A company's ability to perform competitively tends to be based on protecting and using organizational resources productively. One way companies can improve business performance is to rethink the manner in which they have organizationally structured and positioned resource protection type functions. These functions are commonly identified as: (1) Safety, (2) Industrial Hygiene, (3) Fire Protection, (4) Security Services, (5) Emergency Preparedness, and (6) Environmental Affairs.

When these functions are organizationally misaligned, they are out of position to contribute effectively to business performance. There is, however, growing recognition of the need to position resource protection functions to move beyond compliance and toward competitive company performance in the marketplace.

This interest at the executive level reflects concern for a company-wide strategy and structure that protects, conserves and improves organizational resources resulting in economic benefit. At the operating level, this interest in strategy and structure hinges on early assessment of risk, resulting in improved business conditions and outcomes.

How can resource protection functions be positioned to leverage the collective capabilities of these functions to mount an aggressive and sustained attack on the risks and resource problems that confront the company? How can you do this without relinquishing appropriate autonomy of these functions?

Strategy and Structure

At the executive and operating levels, the stages and steps outlined in Exhibit A can facilitate strategic planning and organizational implementation. The method is organized around a two-stage procedure for developing resource protection strategy and structure.

These stages and the steps in their achievement provide a guide for systematic thinking that enables executives and managers to justify the most advantageous positioning of resource protection functions.

In Exhibit A, Stage 1 concentrates on developing strategic design and direction. Stage 2 focuses on taking this strategic design and direction to a functional structure that gains broad consensus and accomplishes the intent.

Strategy Formulation

The first step in formulating strategy is to review the enterprise's overall culture and intent to determine ways to assure congruence with the resource protection function's potential contribution.

It is crucial to identify vital mutuality between the strategic plan of the firm and the contributions that well-positioned and integrated resource protection functions can yield. Be genuine in your review of the corporate competitive performance strategy, seeking the best avenues for resource protection strategy formulation.

The second step is to develop a strategic intent for the resource protection functions.

This vision is directed toward building and sustaining a set of competencies and capabilities that will enhance the organization's ability to sustain long-term business performance. Collaboration among organizational stakeholders will contribute insights. The challenge is to effectively tap the store of knowledge and judgment across a broad spectrum of the organization's activities. Paint a clear picture portraying the strategic intent of the future for resource protection functions that serve the larger corporate well-being.

The third step in formulating strategy is to construct a statement of mission for the resource protection functions.

The mission builds on the review from Step 1 and the vision from Step 2 to describe the long-term purpose of the resource protection functions. The mission of the resource protection functions is the pursuit of the vision and values.

The statement of that mission provides a template to guide decision-making. …

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