This Risk Manager’s Meticulous Planning Ensured His Fortune 500 Company Weathered Harvey
Goodyear is one of the largest tire companies in the world, and it is also vertically integrated, with 48 facilities in 22 countries, including facilities that produce rubber chemicals incorporated into tires.
Goodyear has a robust business continuity program, supported by a cross-functional team, including risk management.
The team’s preparation and perseverance were put to the test in 2017 when Hurricane Harvey swept over the U.S. Gulf Coast where Goodyear has chemical manufacturing, warehousing and retail facilities. The storm forced evacuations and left heavy flooding, creating operational, logistical and human-resource challenges.
Craig Melnick joined Goodyear just a few months before the storm. He is part of both the company’s risk management and business continuity groups. As with many 2018 Risk All Stars, he is quick to stress that he is only as good as his colleagues.
“It was truly a team effort and our business continuity plan worked extremely well,” he said. “Before and during the storm, we met every day. Functional departments reported on status and associates on the ground were able to provide timely and important updates. Within a short period after the storm, we began to have meaningful information both on the impacts to our people and on damage to affected facilities.”
Melnick remained at the corporate headquarters in Akron, Ohio, and coordinated the tracking of costs in collaboration with the affected locations. Operational preparations included moving inventory out of the storm zone and keeping in contact with suppliers and customers about changes in deliveries.
“One effective step was contacting remediation firms to be sure they were ready to come to us as soon as the storm passed,” said Melnick.
“We also got our insurers involved very early, including identifying who our adjuster would be and all the third parties involved.”
As if being the new guy during a significant event was not sufficiently fraught, the hurricane hit just two weeks before the quarterly financial closing. So as part of his cost coordination efforts, Melnick worked to keep the finance team updated.
“My primary function is customer service,” Melnick said emphatically. “My customers are my coworkers, and I am responsible for giving timely and substantive responses to every inquiry from the field. That enables them to do their jobs.”
“My primary function is customer service. My customers are my coworkers, and I am responsible for giving timely and substantive responses to every inquiry from the field. That enables them to do their jobs.” — Craig Melnick, senior manager, risk management, Goodyear
Colleagues concur. “Craig always says he has 64,000 customers within the organization. It is important for him that everyone knows it is not a one-man show,” said Kevin Garvey, client executive at Aon. As a broker, Garvey lauded Melnick’s technical expertise, especially in handling the complex claims arising from Harvey.
That in turn enabled a strong presentation for renewals in April.
“The markets always appreciate a risk manager who demonstrates ownership. Craig was able to communicate the steps his company took to minimize the impact of the storm and thus the claims, and also what they had learned from the incident.” &