From a purchasing and payments view, is your organization prepared to respond to a disaster? What is the plan? Paula Cooper* realized her employer had overlooked many details. Could this be you?
Within the disaster plans, Paula’s organization had identified Purchasing Cards as the primary payment vehicle. Procurement staff would be responsible for the majority of emergency purchases; most already had a card. Paula, as the program manager, would simply increase their limits. Not so fast…
Ask Detailed Questions
- Would procurement’s P-Cards be accessible when disaster strikes, including nights and weekends? Where did they store the cards?
- What, exactly, would procurement staff need to buy? Would it vary, depending on the disaster?
- Would they be able to handle all the purchasing needs or would others need to assist?
- If additional cards are needed, how quickly will the issuer respond?
- How would the card controls need to change? How high should the limits be? Should all MCC restrictions be removed?
To resolve these details, Paula recommended they conduct needs assessments. She was also concerned that her organization had never discussed disaster planning and recovery with the card issuer. Their contract did not mention it.
*To uphold her organization's confidentiality, Paula Cooper is not her real name.
Work with Your Issuer
Paula made a list of items to address with their card issuer, including:
- the results of her organization's needs assessments
- how to ensure swift responses by the issuer during a disaster
- potential for increasing the organization spend limit to accommodate disaster purchases
- how to prevent unusual purchases from getting declined at crucial times
Communication is Critical
Finally, Paula learned that individual departments were also devising their own purchasing plans in the event of a disaster. One cardholder asked if he could share his card with his manager, who would need to make purchases, too. The lack of internal coordination and communication was immediately evident.
What Can You Improve?
If your organization is like Paula’s, there is room for improvement concerning emergency preparedness. Access the related webpage for more on this topic.
About the Author
Blog post author Lynn Larson, CPCP, is the founder of Recharged Education. With more than 15 years of Commercial Card experience, her mission is to make industry education readily accessible to all. Learn more…