The Capability-Driven Approach to Resource Management
When it comes to incident and emergency response, effectively managing resources couldn’t be more important. Resources, i.e. materials, supplies, facilities, technologies, even people, are assets in every sense of the word. But they don’t get the job done in isolation. That’s where capabilities come in.
Let’s look at the research. Where resources tend to be static in nature, capabilities are more dynamic. Scholars refer to them as human-based skills, orientations, attitudes, motivations, and behaviors, asserting that capabilities actually “transform resources into specific business activities…and create high-level strategic competencies.”
What does that mean in the incident and emergency context? Well, in an actual response, managers can’t just dispatch anybody. They have to identify the best people for the job: someone with CPR certification for a rescue, a certified diver for coastal response, trained counselors for trauma survivors, the list goes on.
Having to keep track (at any one time) of the certifications, competencies, and trainings of dispatchers at any one time puts a lot of pressure on managers. So it’s unsurprising then that in the case of rapid response, effective capability management gets lost.
Technology should be a help here. And you’ll sometimes find detailed credentialing and capabilities information in enterprise HR systems, for instance. The only problem is those traditionally locked-down systems, when they’re actually accessible, don’t sync with the resource management tools responder teams use.
Resource management systems themselves usually store static (personnel) contact directories. Slightly more advanced systems even let teams supplement those directories with basic credentialing and capabilities information, like trainings performed or certifications attained.
What’s crucially missing though is more up-to-date, in-depth data: how much training have teams received? Have credentials expired? Who has specialized capabilities? In the event of an emergency, managers need all of that information at their disposal in order to send the right resources with the right skills to the right place at the right time. The consequences of not having it: lost time, effort, and productivity.
The same goes for multi-agency response to large-scale emergencies. In that context, response providers can include a mix of federal, state, and local public safety, law enforcement, emergency response, emergency medical (including hospital emergency facilities), and related personnel agencies, and authorities. Finding the right resources with the right credentials in that jumble can be nigh impossible, especially when each responding agency brings with it a unique set of systems.
So what’s needed? Flexible, simple-to-use, easy-to-integrate software that helps minimize the impact of any event through better capability planning.
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