Nov 7, 2019

winter weather logistics

While supply chain issues can arise at any time of the year, winter brings new challenges that shippers, carriers and third-party logistics companies (3PL) must prepare for, and now is the time to get started. Fall is already here, which means that winter is right around the corner. Is your supply chain prepared for emergencies capable of presenting significant roadblocks? Even if your Q4 plan is already in place, there is still time to implement these preventative measures that will help you plan for and confront any issues that winter may bring.

Monitor and track weather
When route planning, it’s essential to stay on top of incoming winter storms that may divert or stop carriers in their tracks. This is why intermodal transportation is so important. If you haven’t already, investigate alternate means of transportation (rail, air, etc.) to diversify how you ship your freight. If you know roads will likely be closed due to severe winter storms, you can possibly send time-sensitive shipments out using an alternative method.

Monitoring winter storms also allows you to provide updates for your customers and warehouse teams, letting them know why freight shipments might be delayed and their new estimated times of arrival. If you work with a 3PL, make sure the company keeps you informed of shipment status updates.

Implement RFID tracking
Radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking allows shippers to track their shipments as they move from location to location, providing them with the best view of their freight and related ETA’s. This is especially useful during the winter. When storms threaten to keep carriers off the road or divert them to a different route, RFID tracking (especially when used at the pallet level), allows shippers to closely monitor their freight and react to emergencies as they arise.

If you are interested in learning more about implementing RFID tracking, you can find more information here. 

Stock up on carriers
As more trucks are forced off the road (combined with an increase in holiday shipping), capacity is notoriously known to tighten as winters hits. This capacity crunch can bring with it a rise in rates, slightly slower shipment times and other negative effects that can slow the supply chain. What’s the best way to prepare for a looming capacity crunch? Partner with a 3PL who has built a vast and dependable carrier network to ensure your freight is hauled throughout the season with ease and reliability.

Prepare your cold supply chain
If you store or ship temperature-sensitive products, extra precautions must be taken to ensure they are kept at the right temperatures should inclement weather cause a power outage at your facility or the breakdown of a truck while in route. Closely tracking shipments and communicating frequently with carriers will allow you to react quickly if an emergency arises while freight is en-route, but extra precautions also should be taken at temperature-controlled facilities that include testing backup generators and rechecking HVAC systems.

Work with a reliable 3PL partner
Whether you are storing temperature-sensitive products or shipping freight to multiple destinations, King can be your guide this winter season. In addition to optional GPS tracking, we specialize in optimizing your logistics strategy to ensure that you get the most out of your plan. It’s everything your supply chain needs to brave this winter season. Ready to talk winter shipping solutions? Contact me today