Rapid recovery after Asos arson

Friday’s fire at the Barnsley warehouse of online fashion retailer Asos serves to highlight that not all business risks are technology-related. 500 people were evacuated as ten fire engines and more than 60 firefighters attended the blaze at the five-storey building near Grimethorpe, which police are treating as arson.

Having been forced to, as it put it, ‘pause’ its website after the blaze at its distribution centre, the fashion firm is, remarkably, trading normally again only 50 hours later.

In a statement, the company said, “None of the technology, automation or structure of the building has been affected by the fire. Our initial estimate is that approximately 20% of the total stock at the site has been compromised by fire damage and the sprinkler systems. The clean-up process commenced on Saturday morning and progressed quickly. Consequently at 2am this morning we recommenced taking orders. We are fully insured for loss of stock and business interruption.”

As the BBC reported, ‘Analysts said Asos’ management already had experience in dealing with such issues, noting its Hemel Hempstead warehouse was damaged by explosions at the Buncefield fuel depot in 2005.’

Asos was clearly ready for such an eventuality and had a robust business continuity/disaster recovery plan in place. Other firms that face fire or other unexpected incidents might not be as lucky.

ISO22301, the international Business Continuity Standard, specifies the requirements to plan, implement, operate and maintain a business continuity management system (BCMS).

See our Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery and ISO22301 information page for more guidance.