How to Prepare Your Supply Chain for a ‘Busy’ Hurricane Season

It appears that 2020 will be known as the year of supply chain disruption.

To potentially compound widespread logistics issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has predicted an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 1. And this year, the administration predicts a 60 percent chance that activity is above average.

This deviation from standard seasonal activity calls for a likely range of 13 to 19 named storms, of which 6 to 10 could be hurricanes, and 3 to 6 could be significant category 3, 4, or 5 storms.

Hurricanes can significantly damage your physical assets and significantly disrupt business, which can cost you in future revenue and jeopardize your viability.

Despite the predicted uptick in activity, there is good news for shippers. Many of the best supply chain practices that helped your operation succeed during pandemic conditions can also apply to seasonal disruptions like hurricanes.

Preparing Your Supply Chain for Hurricane Season 2020

There is a plethora of proactive solutions shippers with supply chain operations on the East Coast and Southern coastal areas can take to prepare for this year’s hurricane season.

It is best that you understand your unique supply chain needs before taking on preparatory initiatives. We aim to suggest a wide berth of actions that shippers can take; however, effective solutions hinge on your individual supply chain needs.

Purchase Insurance

Purchasing insurance remains the most overt solution to prepping your business for natural disasters. There are a few different varieties of insurance that we recommend to companies. Flood or hurricane insurance can help you restore damaged supply chain assets in case of a severe storm. And as added protection, your organization can purchase business interruption coverage, which can cover you for lost sales during a disruption.

Utilize Drop Trailers

If your logistics provider can arrange drop trailer execution, it can offer beneficial protection against a massive storm. A drop trailer refers to a shipping strategy in which a carrier drops a trailer with product at a warehouse or other facility to be picked up at a later date. This strategy can be especially helpful if you have supply chain partners outside the natural disaster path.

Increase Visibility with Technology

During times of crisis, like a hurricane, having real-time access to tracking information, carriers, suppliers, and inventory counts will help you identify any storm-related issues that need to be addressed.

A transportation partner should utilize the most advanced visibility and traceability technology.

Know Your Business

Whether it is a seasonal disruption, like a significant storm, or irregular disturbance like the COVID-19 pandemic, you can prepare your supply chain for uncertainty. You must analyze your business and its response to previously disruptive conditions.

Will panic buying happen, and your orders with customers match it? Or will some arms of your business be forced to scale back to avoid storm damage?

Accurately forecasting consumption patterns in the face of a large-scale disruption may be a challenge. However, it is a critical step to understanding how your order volume and velocity will change. Look at past events for precedence as to how your operation shifted during similar circumstances.

Gauging how your order volume will change will allow for production and supply chain procedures to follow suit.

Analyze the Capabilities of Others in Your Supply Chain

Understanding how your supply chain partners will deal with disruption is as critical as knowing your own business. Will your warehousing stay online, or will workers be impacted? Are your facilities safe from the predicted hurricane?

If parts of your supply chain are adversely affected, how will this impact production and inventory?

It takes an accurate gauge of both an order influx and an understanding of your supply chain to prepare for disruption adequately.

Communicate with Supply Chain Partners 

Good practices for typical market conditions become increasingly critical in adverse climates. During a hurricane, it is essential to focus on communication. Following principles of proper communication with your supply chain partners and customers can go a long way.

No detail about your operation is too small to share with your logistics partners when services are disrupted.

Relaying information to transportation partners is vital. Establish good communication practices and let partners know when you receive orders, where they are going, and when they are due. These details should be communicated as early and as often as possible to ensure that your supply chain partners are prepared to deal with anything that falls outside your typical order cadence.

This principle becomes even more important if your orders are going to a retail customer with a scorecard or strict appointment guidelines.

Communicating as soon as possible can create much-needed lead time for your logistics provider.

Work with a Proactive Logistics Solutions Provider

When a substantially disruptive event is on the horizon, it can be difficult to prepare your business to adequately mitigate issues. However, the best bet is to act quickly, creating risk reduction strategies to ensure operations are not disrupted.

The best way to create a plan for your supply chain is to work with a proactive logistics solutions provider. We help businesses of all sizes prepare for supply chain uncertainty.

We believe in creating seamless partnerships that help our customers excel in difficult circumstances. Interested in learning more about what we can do for you?


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