Too late to beat 2000 bug

Bankers are set to advise manufacturers to drop expensive plans for dealing with the millennium bug and to focus on putting contingency plans in place. With time running out for many companies to complete a thorough purge of all their systems, they should instead make an assessment of the risks, and draw up contingency plans […]

Bankers are set to advise manufacturers to drop expensive plans for dealing with the millennium bug and to focus on putting contingency plans in place.

With time running out for many companies to complete a thorough purge of all their systems, they should instead make an assessment of the risks, and draw up contingency plans for processes most likely to fail as 1999 moves into 2000.

Key to such a strategy could be bringing back pensioners who know the old manual accounting systems, say bankers.

In a report due out next month, the British Bankers’ Association will show that a high proportion of UK businesses are late with their Year 2000 planning. Transport, logistics and manufacturing are among the most behind.

‘It may be that the best thing is to do an assessment, work out what can be done cheaply, but then leap in to contingency planning,’ said BBA director Mike Young.

‘If the accounting system goes down, you still have pen and paper. Take paper backups of the figures, and get someone to come in who still remembers how to use the manual system,’ he said.

The BBA survey, collated from bank managers’ interviews with customers over the summer, will show ‘an inherent vulnerability and lack of action’ on millennium compliance across the whole of the UK.

Last week Don Cruikshank, director of Action 2000, the group leading the campaign for bug compliance among UK business, said pressure from banks and insurance companies would be vital in forcing non-compliant firms to act. ‘They have already withdrawn credit facilities in some cases,’ Cruikshank said.

Action 2000’s latest survey shows the Midlands and Wales as having the highest concentration of unprepared companies.