This is the second blog in this series, please first read Part One, “Discovering Operational Resilience, or how an A5 flyer saved an organisation”.
Part Two – Return to UK, Crime Scene and Production restarts
The following morning Mike returned from South Africa and was met at the airport by Geoff – the man mountain who was Graham’s no. 2 at the security company. “Graham’s at the site with his mates”, said Geoff. “He thought it would be an easier exit for you if I came”. There were a few reporters present but Geoff firmly reminded them of the statement scheduled for 1000 and soon had ushered Mike into the car. “By the way”, said Geoff, “the Police will be wanting a statement from you when you arrive”.
They arrived at the site just after 0900 and were ushered through the police cordon by Graham and Inspector Clarke, the senior Police Officer on site. Graham introduced the Inspector to Mike, “the police have already taken statements from the others, including Sarah and the injured, so there’s just you to go”.
“I don’t know how much help I can be, I was in South Africa yesterday as the whole incident unravelled”, started Mike. The Inspector paused, “but you have updated the system since yesterday?” “Yes, from my phone, it’s a Cloud App, so I was able to catch up with what occurred before I gave the Press Conference in Capetown yesterday morning”. “Oh, right”, said Inspector Clarke.
Well, sir “If you could account for your movements and actions since you left the country, earlier in the week…?” With the interview finished, Graham entered the room.
“There’s someone urgently wanting to see you”, said Graham, “Name of Ray McDonald?” Graham had Mike’s undivided attention. Ray (meticulous Mac) MacDonald was the MD of the company from whom HAB Valves lease testing equipment. “I’ll see him right away and it may be a good idea if you’re there too”.
The conversation with an extremely distraught Ray, didn’t take long. As always, before sending out test equipment, Ray’s team conducted a rigorous test and found that the initial unit was faulty, so this had been segregated and a second unit successfully tested and delivered to HAB Valves. Somehow, and Ray had no idea how, the two units had become interchanged. Graham said gently to Ray, “I think it would be best, if I asked one of my former colleagues in, so that you can make an formal statement?” Ray nodded, “Yes, please”.
During his statement, “meticulous Mac” lived up to his name, sharing his notebook which contained the serial numbers of the potentially rogue unit and the one that had been successfully tested. A PC was despatched to check the serial number of the unit. No-one was surprised when the serial number matched that of the failed unit. The Inspector spoke, “I will arrange for that unit to be collected as evidence”, he said, “and Mr MacDonald, we will need to visit your premises and speak with your staff about how this, er, mishap has occurred?” “Of course”, said Ray. “Mike, I cannot say how sorry I am, please tell Richard, Jason and the other guys?” Mike could have sworn that Ray had aged ten years in just a few minutes.
After Inspector Clarke had delivered a statement in place of the scheduled news conference which had the “reporters” quite excited with a “possible crime scene”, filling the mobile networks as they called their employers.
The Inspector turned to Mike, “Mr Phillips, as you are aware we are treating this site as a crime scene, so until we advise you otherwise, these premises may not be used. I will arrange for my men to collect that suspect unit this afternoon and then we will need to secure the premises. “I will ask Graham to arrange that”, said Mike.
“If it helps, I have a record on our system of everything that occurred after the accident and both Mike and I have updated it since, including a RIDDOR report to the HSE”, said Sarah, “I will print you a copy, if you like”. Inspector Clarke was impressed. Sarah shortly returned with the report and handed it to the Inspector. “Updated as of one minute, ago”, she smiled.
“Right Sarah, advise the troops that we are decamping to the backup office in town. I think we need to give the Agents four hours’ notice? If you could also advise the stakeholders by email from the IM (Incident Management) system and contact the communications company to have the numbers diverted. We then have time to speak with the Loss Adjuster and then some hospital visiting?” suggested Mike.
The meeting with the Loss Adjuster had, in view of the police investigation, not progressed as well as Mike had initially hoped. The Key Man insurance was not an issue but receiving payment from the Business Interruption Policy would be dependent on the findings of the police investigation.
It was the end of October just over two months since the failed test of the new valve. HAB Valves had moved back to their building as the Police investigation had concluded and an employee of Mac’s Machines (Ray MacDonald’s company) was in custody, charged with attempted manslaughter.
The new valve had been successfully independently re-tested and production would soon be able to start on the South African order and some other orders from Australia and New Zealand soon followed. As part of the Continuity Plan, Richard had arranged a reciprocal agreement with another valve manufacturer in the North to use their production facilities overnight. With Anna back in her former role and Pete, they had sufficient capacity to start fulfilling the orders, although Thomas and Henry were also close to a full recovery.
Richard had also returned to work, but on the Friday of that week, he had a call from Jason advising of his return to work on Monday. He would, he said, have come back sooner but had been working on his vision for the future. Another set of unilateral and irrational thoughts, mused Richard. Not for the first time, he regretted not having a Shareholder’s Agreement. His 40% counted for nothing on the big decisions. “Enjoy your weekend”, Jason had said. Some chance of that, thought Richard.
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