1. SanitationIn the past month, more than 200 passengers on two separate cruises were infected with the norovirus. In 2014, more than 600 people on a Royal Caribbean cruise had the same illness. The New York Times reported on a norovirus study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases in 2009. In this study, examiners marked more than 8,300 objects in cruise ship bathrooms with a substance only visible under ultraviolet light. Then, they returned the next day to see if the objects had been cleaned. Only 37 percent were. It gets worse. Three of the ships studied had baby-changing tables that weren’t cleaned at all in a three-year period.
2. MaintenanceThere’s no denying that 2013 was the year from hell for Carnival. In February 2013, the Triumph vessel caught fire and was stranded at sea for five days while sewage dripped from walls. Barely a month after that incident, Legend experienced engine problems; Dream had a malfunction with its emergency generator and the cruise line had to fly 4,000 passengers home; and Elation had a problem with its steering system and needed a tugboat back to shore.
Crisis Management is Always Tied to OperationsCruise ship operations are highly compartmentalized. Not every employee can know how to do every task. Employees on the hospitality side operations must properly sanitize surfaces and raise the bar on disease prevention. Similarly, those in the control room need to improve how they communicate, which was a problem in the Triumph incident. “Carnival may have planned for an engine fire, power outage and disabled ship, but they perhaps did not account for the sewage, ventilation and food issues they experienced,” risk management expert Dov Gardin wrote in a blog for Risk Management Monitor. He believes Carnival could have handled the situation better had it used a structured decision-making framework called “Command and Control.”
What is Command and Control?There are essentially four phases of this decision-making process, Gardin explains.
- The crisis management team must understand the issue through collecting and analyzing information.
- Based on the information gathered, the team determines their objectives.
- The team directs subordinates to carry out the objectives.
- The team continually reassesses the situation and adjusts the strategy as necessary.
Command and Control comes down to using real-time information, forming clear objectives, and being able to communicate changing priorities. You can see why and how it is being applied to corporate operations, and it’s definitely a process every service industry can consider.
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