As we approach the coldest months of the year, serious weather can mean serious disruptions to your supply chain. Delays due to plummeting temperatures and winter storms are inevitable. Couple these delays with the existing driver and equipment shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and October through March could be a particularly cruel set of months for supply chain logistics. Fortunately, HSM has a few insights to share on how to be prepared for weather-related disruptions and how to power through potential logistical hiccups.

#1. Plan in advance. First and foremost, advance planning is the strongest mitigator to any supply chain disruption – whether it’s a winter whiteout, tropical hurricane, raging brushfire or global pandemic. While all of these events are unexpected and completely outside of your control, you can expect that at some point major natural events will interrupt your procurement plans. Knowing ahead of time where your goods are shipping from and arriving will allow you to determine the best route. As soon as you see trouble brewing, work with carriers and destination contacts to make them aware of potential delays. Be cautious; be early; be prepared.

#2. Safety is key. Supply chain management includes a responsibility for ensuring the safety of your drivers and goods. Achieving this goal comes down to one thing, good communication. If a winter storm is sweeping through the Northern Corridor or Upper Midwest, keep everyone involved continuously updated on what’s happening and how they should safely proceed. Protect your people first, and then be sure that the goods they are transporting are being taken care of as well.

#3. Lean on strategic relationships. Having the right networks and partners in place will provide a successful outcome almost every time. Being able to tap into a vast carrier network at your fingertips allows you to make adjustments behind the scenes, and unbeknownst to the customer, when a potential disruption presents itself. Having close relationships with suppliers also helps to foster timely communication and makes them more likely to be flexible when things don’t go according to schedule.

#4. Always have a backup plan. You’ve probably heard the saying, “Dig your well before you are thirsty.” Developing contingency plans when you don’t need them is the secret to coming out on top when you do. This helps to reduce risk at every point along the supply chain.

To sum it up, planning in advance, keeping people and goods safe, creating a powerful network and coming up with contingency plans before you need them are the secrets to a solid strategy for mitigating cold weather supply chain disruptions. Need help insulating your supply chain against the upcoming winter weather? Give HSM a call. We’ve got you covered.

Published: January 01, 2021

Category: News