Supply Chain Disruptions: Preparing for Extreme Weather

Posted: 05/16/2018
Category: Industry , Materials
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Severe weather can hit at a moment’s notice with little to no warning. Knowing your typical threats and when to expect them can better prepare you for the events that are uncontrollable. In addition, evaluating your supply chain risk and creating a plan for when issues arise can make the difference between minimal disruption and a total production shut down.


Evaluating the Risk Based on the Location

Determining your predictive risk can start with an evaluation of your supplier locations. Natural weather disruptions are common occurrences and can often be expected in specific regions or seasons.  Putting all of your supply chain weight in a single location can be an indicator that a large portion of your business could be susceptible to a single weather event. To ensure a constant intake of materials, if and when a disaster occurs, it would be beneficial to split volume between suppliers in different locations.  

Creating a Backup Logistics Plan

After evaluating your locations and knowing their disadvantages, it is in your best interest to create a backup logistics plan. Your backup plan can consist of having a diversified carrier network that is able to handle materials at quick notice, or it could be planning the best expedite option to shorten emergency reaction times in the future. Thinking through the current logistics plan and finding ways it could be disrupted can help alleviate setbacks when an issue arises.    

Inventory Levels

Strategically planning inventory levels in times of common weather disaster seasons can be an additional safety net for your company. Starting with the location of your suppliers, if a larger supplier is located in a hot zone for weather-related issues, it may be better to have extra inventory on hand. Taking on a large amount of inventory may be restrictive due to space, funds, or other reasons but the risk of a complete shutdown must be considered. If keeping extra units on hand as backup outweighs the temporary space loss, there may be an opportunity to eliminate future risk.

There will always be the potential for delays and risks in logistics but the risks can be minimized with proper planning. When the weather is a major factor, it is hard to guarantee deliveries. Taking the time to look at all possible disruptions will increase the likelihood that your company will be ready for the weather.

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