In recent years, extreme weather has proven unpredictable, chaotic, and overwhelmingly destructive. In 2017, Puerto Rico prepared as best it could for its first category 5 hurricane in nearly a century. For ten days straight, Hurricane Maria took out 100% of cellphone towers. Puerto Rico’s power remained spotty for just shy of a year and cell phone service was unreliable for months.
Supply chain facilities had continuity plans in place for extreme weather, but the majority of those plans relied on past experiences. No one was prepared for the communication black out, and supply chain companies struggled to implement their contingency plans as a result. From 2000-2010, eight category 5 hurricanes made landfall around the world. That’s four times as many as the preceding decade. The current decade has four reported category 5 hurricanes and experts are predicting four additional powerful hurricanes this season.
While Florida didn’t experience the brunt of Hurricane Maria, it’s no stranger to powerful hurricanes. When uncontainable disasters strike, supply chain facilities need to have a controlled response ready to go. The following are crucial for hurricane disaster preparedness:
- Bring in inventory ASAP. During and immediately after a natural disaster, shipments will struggle to get through to affected areas. Upon learning of a potential hurricane making landfall, supply chain facilities need to ramp up their orders and start stockpiling supplies in the event of a communication shutdown. This is especially true for providers of survival staples such as water, diapers, sanitizing products, and non-perishable food.
- Arrange for future orders. When communication goes out, supply chain facilities need to have standing orders ready. If a supply chain company has standard deliveries to repeat customers, having the shipment ready to go when communication comes back online saves critical time during a period of intense stress and high demand.
- Include communication in contingency plans. If a supply chain’s useable forms of communication rely on cell service or the internet, a hurricane can leave them crippled and out of the loop for an extended period of time. Investing in satellite phones and airing updates on AM radio stations can keep employees and the public in the loop.
- Secure clients’ private data. Supply chain organizations house a plethora of private data both in digital and physical formats. To ensure customers’ privacy, supply chains need to secure this information prior to any significant weather event.
There are several risks associated with extreme weather for supply chain companies. While only one category 5 hurricane has hit Florida in the past decade, the state has seen seven major storm systems (category 3 or higher) hit its shores since 2000. MMA Florida is intimately familiar with the risks associated with hurricanes. Contact us to learn how we can help your supply chain company manage these challenges.