Recovery On Wheels - InformationWeek

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Business & Finance
04:10 PM
Darrell Dunn
Darrell Dunn

Recovery On Wheels

Mobile units let companies quickly set up temporary operations close to home.

The need for disaster-recovery plans has intensified in the past few years, but for many companies, the conventional model of setting up a temporary work site in an urban recovery center hasn't been a great solution. Increasingly, businesses, including some hit by Hurricane Katrina last week, are relying on preconfigured mobile recovery units.

Agility Recovery Solutions, with more than 100,000 mobile recovery units located across the country, is the largest such recovery service in North America, VP of sales Mike Hoeltke says. It deployed units in at least 14 recovery efforts associated with Katrina and expected that number could go as high as 25 in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

Mobile Recovery Unit

A double-wide mobile disaster-recovery unit can house up to 48 employees.

Companies contract with Agility to have units specifically configured to meet their needs. They specify the types of computing and telecommunications systems required so that they can use the units to create a working environment for displaced employees. A single-size mobile recovery unit accommodates about 16 people, and a double-wide unit about 48 people. Contracts start at $200 per month.

Patrick Industries Inc., a manufacturer of laminated products, had a conventional program with disaster-recovery specialist nFrame Inc. It required employees to relocate operations to nFrame's recovery center in Indianapolis, a 2-1/2 hour drive from Patrick Industries' Elkhart, Ind., headquarters, director of MIS Sue Penick says. But a partnership between Agility and nFrame offered a mobile recovery alternative.

The flexibility of working with nFrame and Agility was a strong selling point, Penick says. Some larger disaster-recovery companies required the use of equipment that wasn't identical to what Patrick Industries normally uses and would have moved workers hours from their homes, she says. "They've been able to provide us with everything we need and provide it in a way that really makes sense," she says.

The partnership with Agility lets nFrame be creative in developing recovery programs for customers, says Robert Alcorn, chief operating officer at nFrame. While some may want to keep all activity local, others may like a program in which much of the data-center requirements are at nFrame's Indianapolis headquarters and more labor-intensive efforts, such as call centers, can be moved into nearby mobile units.

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