Jeff Barnes | 29 October 2013
One of the main disruptions to the country when we get severe weather incidents is travel, and this represents a significant challenge to a business like QA. Here’s how we prepared for the St Jude’s Day storm.
Around lunchtime on Sunday the 27 th of October it became obvious that the fiercest storm for over 15 years was going hit the southern half of the UK over the next 24 hours. Unlike the one in '87 at least the Met Office gave us a clear warning that we were going to suffer. Of course, one of the main disruptions to the country when we get these severe weather incidents is travel and this represents a significant challenge to a business like QA. To give you an indication of the size of this challenge, here are a few stats regarding the QA courses scheduled to start on Monday the 28 th.
- There were 328 training events scheduled to start on the Monday morning
- These were across 149 sites; 28 QA offices and 121 at customer premises
- Almost 2,000 people were booked onto these courses
Our customers had received their course attendance instructions some time ago and they would be looking forward to their events so we needed to ensure that we kept this delivery on track. The first decision taken on the Sunday was to add an extra 30 minutes to the start time of the events so that we could allow for a little more travel time. We communicated this through e-mail and SMS messages to our delegates and also on the QA website, Twitter feed and Facebook page.
From around 5.30am on the morning of the 28 th , the QA Operations team were already in full swing communicating with the trainers and administration staff who were suffering transport problems, many of whom were stood on railway platforms waiting in vain for cancelled trains to arrive. We needed to get the team to their courses so we starting booking taxi journeys for individuals who were not in a position to revert to their own personal vehicles.
Meanwhile, at the QA offices, course attendees were starting to arrive and the training centre management team ensured that they were made aware of the situation and additional coffee and refreshments were on hand for those waiting for their events to start.
It is often said that people perform at their best in a crisis and while I would be happy to wait another 15 years for another storm of this size, I am both amazed and proud to say that QA did not cancel any of the 328 courses we scheduled and we didn't let any of our 2,000 customers down. It was a pretty hectic 24 hours in the life of QA but the efforts were well worth it.