Seasonal Alert: How Hurricanes Can Affect Your Supply Chain
Hurricane season is upon us, and severe weather events certainly have the potential to create supply chain chaos both in North America and internationally. And as the U.S. east coast is currently preparing for the landfall of Hurricane Florence, the threat of flooding and heavy rains is a real concern for shippers throughout the entire geographical area and beyond.
It’s critical for companies to keep ahead of severe weather threats and take steps to minimize potential supply chain disruptions, as high force winds, downed trees and power outages are expected whenever there is a tropical storm or hurricane warning, whether or not the storm makes landfall. Many of our customers have already been thinking proactively about what they can do to mitigate these issues, and it’s important for shippers to work with their 3PL provider to closely monitor any severe weather situation to keep networks running as smooth as possible.
Here are some other actionable steps that shippers can take ahead of any severe weather event:
- Identify high-risk distribution centers and plants, as well as receivers
- Identify products that will be in demand and build safety stock at the customer location and on standby
- Check the weather consistently in relevant areas to speed proactivity
- Keep communication open within your own internal teams and with all external affected parties
Coordinate and Plan Alternatives
- Plan for contingencies well in advance
- Determine who makes the call on closing DCs or facilities in the impacted area, and make sure to communicate this throughout your supply chain – from sales to transportation
- Coordinate fulfillment support from other DCs to mitigate any potential downtime
- Look into surge agreements with carriers
Execute and Work Closely with Your 3PL Partner
- Make sure you’re receiving frequent updates on the storm, its impacted area and potential impacted shipments
- Communicate the following to all relevant carriers:
- Alternate routing (change of origin or destination)
- Road closures
- Confirmation of pick-up dates, any shipments on a temporary hold, or any shipments that need to be expedited
- Coordinate all info related to delivery delays, including:
- Customers that are closed or may be unable to receive shipments
- Any delivery appointment backlog at consignees
- Any loads that are currently delayed in transit or held on yards
- Relevant rail delays or LTL terminal closures
- Work toward cost containment. Work with your carriers to understand capacity and rate variances, and determine what options will allow more flexibility and maximum mitigation of surge rates
Additionally, our Think Tank has been working to find new ways to use actionable data and predictive analytics to help our customers minimize disruptions from natural disasters. When a named storm is on the horizon, the team looks at potentially impacted areas to help make quick decisions ahead of the actual impact of the storm. Relevant data can then be extracted and applied to a “blueprint” for subsequent natural events, improving the outcome each time. By sharing these predictive analytics with internal teams at Transplace, the Think Tank enables them to help all of their customers mitigate any potential supply chain turmoil.
For more information on the impending weather and how it may affect your transportation operations, don’t hesitate to contact your account team. You can also follow us on Twitter (@Transplace) and subscribe to our weather alert emails here.
How have recent natural events affected your supply chain operations?