‘Tis the season: hurricanes, polar vortices, blizzards. Extreme weather events can shut supply chains down, leading to delays, shut-downs, and other impacts.
Compensating for extreme weather events with contingency planning is part of the logistics picture for any importer. And it’s becoming more and more important. The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risks Report lists ‘extreme weather’ as the number one most likely global risk and the fourth in terms of impact.
As wild weather becomes more and more common, shippers and logistics providers alike need a Plan B. The goal is to be both proactive and reactive.
Here are 9 ways to weatherproof your supply chain:
1. Have backup
For some shippers, contingency planning means backup suppliers, redundant inventory, or shipping ahead of storm season to ensure you have an emergency supply. Make sure your logistics partner has alternate carriers and shipping routes lined up.
2. Test your plans
Review and update disaster plans, including those from your suppliers and logistics providers, on a regular basis. Test all plans and evaluate your level of preparedness.
3. Have visibility
Make sure you have access to the data that can help you plan. Where is the storm’s path relative to your suppliers, warehouses, shipping routes, and customers?
4. Understand your products
How will demand for your products be affected by an emergency? Some businesses may want to move their inventory away from the storm, but others may want to move toward it in the case of products like generators, water, snow removal equipment, etc.
5. Be ready to pivot
Rerouting an ocean vessel to a different port to avoid a coastal storm. Renting temporary warehouse space to move essential equipment to where you need it. Acquiring generators to keep the lights on your operation. Your plans and your logistics partners should give you the agility to react quickly to weather events.
6. Cross the border quickly
Avoid port congestion by using customs facilities that enable you to secure and finalize clearances at a location other than the port of entry.
7. Be ready to go remote
Cloud-based systems and processes mean your team can log in to the system from anywhere. Your systems must be available no matter where you are.
8. Marry risk management with weather data
A number of companies offer risk management and threat assessment tools that marry weather data with supply chain information. Software can help integrate disparate elements of your supply chain to give you as much control as possible.
9. Have a crisis team
Establish a team that will be responsible for making decisions during a crisis, and communicate it throughout the supply chain.
With more than 60 years of full-service logistics experience, Cole has literally weathered all kinds of storms. Let us help you create a contingency plan to keep your operations moving smoothly.
Being prepared. It’s what we do.