Weathering the storm: How to protect your supply chain from extreme conditions

Alex Robertson

By Alex Robertson Business Development at King Solutions

natural disasters

We must accept that some things in this world are simply out of our control. Nature is one of them. When storms hit, they can have wide-reaching effects on the supply chain, even if the route your carriers are taking is far away from the affected areas. When hurricanes hit the East Coast, they can delay connecting shipments heading to The Midwest. Likewise, when Minnesota-based shipping is delayed due to freezing temperatures and heavy snow, shipments whose end destinations are on either coast can be affected. 

Wherever your supply chain begins, and no matter where it ends, you must always be prepared to shield your shipments from nature’s effects in every way possible. 

 With nature’s great uncertainties, an open mind can be your greatest asset.

Prepare for the inevitable
There were a total of 16 major storms, eight hurricanes, and two Category 3+ hurricanes in the U.S. in 2018It’s nearly certain shippers will have a shipment or two affected, which is why it’s important to understand that most of the work that goes into protecting a supply chain takes place before shipments ever leave the warehouse. 

Keep your shipping options open
With nature’s great uncertainties, an open mind can be your greatest asset. There are many ways to move freight across the country — air, rail, road, LTL and PTL shipping, parcel, and more. If you know road conditions will be an issue, you may want to embrace rail or air transportation. If you know flights will be cancelled, contracting carriers to haul freight may be the best choice. The more options you’re open to, the more adaptable your supply chain will become. 

Create plans for predicted storms
When you know it’s going to rain, you bring an umbrella. When you know it’s going to snow, you stock up on rock salt and other winter supplies. The same should go for your supply chain. Storm preparedness is fully reliant upon having a plan that allows you to adapt to changing situations as they arise. Some important things to consider: 

  • Have designated points of contact for shipping updates and changes. Who is going to be notified of shipment delays and changes? And who will be responsible for making decisions that impact goods in transit? 
  • Create alternate routes and methods of transportation in case of road closures, etc. 
  • Invest in pallet-level tracking so that goods may be tracked while on the road. 
  • Rely on data from previous years to predict and prepare for storm season. 

Choose a transparent and adaptable shipping partner
How can you react to changing conditions if you don’t know the storm status, your shipment’s location, and what’s being done to counteract the situation? At King Solutions, we maintain full transparency with our clients, keeping you up to date with your shipments and known storms in the area. We’ll always let you know if a storm is affecting shipping routes and whether your shipment may face delays or changes. We also offer GPS tracking at the pallet-level, allowing you to keep a close eye on your freight and quickly react to changing circumstances. 

We can’t divert storms or stop roads from closing, but we can provide you with real-time data and help you make the best decision for your freight. 

Ready to take preparation by storm? Contact King to start talking solutions.