Markon Cooperative: Crisis Planning and Mock Drill
employees trained on crisis management
issues identified as threats with plans developed to address these issues
specialized mock crisis drill focused on food safety
No agricultural organization wants to find itself in the middle of a food safety crisis or issue. However, the agriculture and food system continue to be vulnerable to issues of food safety. From the field to the packinghouse and even in the professional and home chef’s kitchen, threats exist not only to people who consume food but also to the brands and companies that supply it to retail and foodservice partners. While there is no way to anticipate and plan for every food safety vulnerability, a well-crafted crisis and issues management plan – and practice using it – can go a long way toward successfully navigating a food safety crisis.
Markon Cooperative, a business-to-business produce purchasing agent for the foodservice industry, understands the value of crisis preparation and planning. As a leader in food safety, Markon is proactive with its crisis and issues readiness and has partnered with NST throughout the years to develop and update the company’s response plan. Part of this planning is helping Markon think through scenarios that could negatively impact its brand, along with potential responses. As the world changes, so do the possible crisis scenarios, making it imperative to revisit planning on a regular basis. Markon turned to NST for a fresh review of its crisis and issues management plan, along with a mock drill designed to give its team hands on practice implementing the plan.
NST’s approach to crisis preparation involves thoughtful planning and the use of mock crisis scenarios executed in a real-world setting. The mock scenarios are designed to help clients practice implementing their crisis plans, increase confidence in enacting the plans, and to identify areas for improvement. Given the uniqueness of each crisis plan and organization, NST works closely with its clients on the development and implementation of the mock crisis drills to ensure they are tailored to each company’s relevant organizational needs and challenges.
Before implementing a drill, NST took a deep dive into the company’s crisis plan, working collaboratively with its food safety director to provide feedback on the plan and areas for improvement. From there, NST developed a custom crisis scenario around a mock food safety recall to allow Markon’s staff to hone their crisis management skills. The mock drill gave Markon’s team the opportunity to enact their crisis plan in real-time and included numerous touchpoints from multiple NST team members serving as mock stakeholders – suppliers, foodservice operators, customers, consumers, regulatory agencies, media and more – requesting information and/or statements of response.
As an organization that relies heavily on its values, NST trained Markon’s staff on how to implement the crisis management plan using values as a guide. Markon’s team practiced:
- Internal communication and coordination as they aligned on approach, messaging, action items and how to enact the crisis plan.
- Development of mock materials – social media responses, media holding statements, member and operator communications, and more – in real time.
- External communication and coordination using systems set up by NST to practice getting in touch with mock stakeholders through media requests, social media chatter and more.
NST also facilitated media training and mock interviews for three of Markon’s senior leaders to give them a better understanding of the current media landscape, how to handle media requests and interviews during times of a crisis, interview tips and guidelines, and how to effectively integrate key messages.
By participating in the mock crisis drill and media training, Markon’s staff better understood how they could improve the plan’s execution and felt better prepared to put the crisis plan into action should a future need arise.
Crisis Plan Creation, Mock Crisis Drill, Media Training