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Preparing Your Supply Chain For Bad Weather

For most of the country, winter is settling upon us, and even if you call a warmer state your home there’s still the chance that inclement weather will affect your warehouse operations. Hurricanes, rainfall, snowstorms, and much more can affect your ability to receive shipments on time, get products out when they need to be, and get your workers to the facility on time.
As winter draws ever closer, you’re probably going to look for ways to mitigate the impact of bad weather on your supply chain and daily operations. We’ve got a few ideas and strategies here to help you stay prepared and (mostly) functional during any kind of weather emergency, no matter where in the country you’re located:
Good Communication: When dealing with any kind of weather-related supply chain issue, the first step is to maintain the lines of communication both internally and externally. If you’re expecting a shipment that will be affected by the weather, try to stay in touch with your supplier (or logistics management) to get updates on when your products will arrive and what condition you can expect them in. If you’re the one making the delivery, try to stay in touch with your clients as best as possible to provide updates and information on when they can expect their delivery. And try to keep your employees appraised as well – set policies for what to do when shipments are delayed and weather is bad so everyone knows how to handle these issues as they arise.
Work With Your Transportation Providers: In a lot of cases of inclement weather, you may have to ask your transportation and logistics providers to lend a hand above and beyond what they’re typically contracted for. Can your logistics providers step in and move additional volumes in a pinch, if your usual haulers are stuck in a hurricane or behind an unplowed highway during a snowstorm? We’re not saying you have to completely switch logistics companies, but making sure the ones you choose are flexible enough to work with you during a weather emergency is an important step.
Stay Flexible: Any product shortage, especially during a weather emergency, is going to affect your daily operations overall. You may need to find new temporary uses for your wire shelving and industrial storage due to the shortage of product, and now may be a good time to do any major warehouse overhauls you’ve been considering due to the extra downtime you might experience. And when the shipments do arrive, you may need to schedule some additional flex hours to unload the products, as the items will likely be arriving outside of normally scheduled loading/unloading hours.
Look to the Future: Most weather emergencies can at least be predicted a few days beforehand (depending on how much you trust your local weatherman, at least) and while that might not be a ton of time to prepare, it’s at least enough for you to get a head start. Try to monitor the weather patterns in both your area and in any area you’re expecting to receive shipments from, and plan ahead from there.
While these steps might not help for everyone, they should be able to keep you ahead of the curve when it comes to weather emergencies and product shortages, no matter what the industry.
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