Insuring The Future

“It’s like life insurance.  Some people don’t like to look at it or talk about it until it’s too late,” says Jamie Clark director of communications and public affairs for Raley’s.  We forced ourselves sit down and think though all the ramifications and implications.”

Rather than traditional life insurance, Clark is referring to insuring the life and continuity of the West Sacramento-based chain through the development of detailed crisis management plans, which were first adopted two years ago and are in the process of being revamped.

Raley’s already has a fairly comprehensive strategy to deal with numerous situations, supported by team including people from operations, quality control, legal and communications and overseen by crisis mangers.  Depending on the nature of the problem, different elements of the team are brought into play, Clark notes.

At the center of the problem is the California Grocers Association’s Emergency Planning and Procedures Manual.  This is the overall matrix which has been customized for Raley’s specific needs, says Clark.

“We’re not focusing on any single issue.  There are potential crises like robberies and accidents that can happen on a daily basis.  Then, there’s the whole area of natural disasters because some of our stores are in earthquake-prone areas.  But we’re also looking at bio-terrorism, something we wouldn’t have thought 25 years ago,” he says.  “We’re trying to cover the waterfront and remain a step ahead.”

To do that, Raley’s is updating its crisis management plan by eliminating some layers to make sure things flow properly, according to Clark.  “The plan will be less departmentalized so everyone impacted by a potential crisis will be involved.  But the main purpose is to get the company functioning normally as quickly as possible and to minimize risk and collateral damage.

California Grocer
August 2002