A comment from a SARS article on BusinessWeek:
SARS is causing economic havoc across Asia, threatening countless small businesses with bankruptcy and large ones with big losses. But some companies long ago set up contingency plans in response to September 11, anthrax attacks, and other disasters that they are now getting a chance to test out — and adapt to meet a new kind of threat.
“Divide to survive” is the essence of all these strategies. FedEx Corp. (FDX ), which has a major operation in Hong Kong, broke its call center staff into two teams and located them on different floors. If SARS closes down one call center, FedEx has another with 40 operators at the ready. “We are also taking critical work groups and splitting them into isolated cells, so if there is a case of SARS, we can continue with the others,” explains David L. Cunningham, president of FedEx’ Asia Pacific operations.
I just find it interesting that businesses, in order to cope with unspecified threats, are adopting a cell model, splitting groups in to autonomous units that can function regardless of whether another group is disrupted. After all, isn’t that how Al Qaeda operates?
From a business perspective, the added layer of redundancy must be nice, but I imagine that it takes its toll on productivity and resource management.