How Bad Weather Storms Affect the Supply Chain

Storms and Supply ChainAs most of our readers are aware, the United States has been wracked with storms over the past few weeks. Hurricane Harvey caused unprecedented flooding and damage in Houston Texas, and then Hurricane Irma brought record breaking wind speeds and rain to Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected. The strength and resolve that these people have displayed are both encouraging and humbling. They are truly an inspiration to us all.

Storms are an unfortunate constant in this world. The devastation that weather events such as hurricanes and tornados can cause is often times overwhelming. These storms can have a massive negative effect on supply chains, which can cripple business operations and prevent supplies from being transported to the devastated areas. This article will highlight some of the problems these storms can cause, as well as lay out some preventive measures that can be taken to mitigate the risk and damage of these storms. Hurricane season can be a trying time for businesses, especially those operating in the southeastern United States. Your peace of mind is our primary goal here at LTX. It is important to us that you are equipped with the information you need to achieve this goal.

Effect of Storms on the Supply Chain

Storms come in all different shapes, sizes, and types, and because of this, they can have a variety of effects on supply chains. For example, heavy snow storms may block off crucial highways and create back-ups of trucks and other vehicles. It could be days before the obstruction clears. Likewise, severe flooding, such as the case of hurricane Harvey can make most traditional forms of transportation impossible. In fact, it has been estimated that Harvey has caused upwards of $50 billion dollars’ worth of damage. Not to mention the loss of economic activity in Houston, which is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. These types of effects can have a markedly negative impact on the efficiency of supply chains. Which can lead to higher costs and customer dissatisfaction. On the other hand, severe winds or in some cases even tornadoes can simply destroy an urban center’s infrastructure, forcing businesses to radically change many of their shipping strategies. The damage these storms can cause can result in huge financial losses, not to mention personal pain and suffering.

How to Reduce Risk


The first step in reducing the risk of storms to your supply chain is acknowledging that they do in fact happen. Storms have been a constant part of our world since the beginning. However, despite knowing this, most storms take businesses completely by surprise. No plans have been made to counter the inevitability of storms, and because of this, the devastation is far worse than it could have been. It is easier to think that bad things will never happen rather than morbidly plan for the worst. But this Ostrich-in-the-sand mentality can put you and your business at extreme risk. So, before any other action is taken, we must first accept the threatening reality of storms.

Secondly, it is important to pay close attention to forecasts from reputable weather analysts. Knowing ahead of time that a storm is coming can be all the difference in the damage it causes. You should create backup plans for transportation routes that may be compromised by storms. For example, when hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, many tanker companies could divert their products to the port of Mobile, Alabama. This greatly reduced the damage of losing access to New Orleans. So, as a rule, it is incredibly important that your business develops alternate strategies and contingency plans in the case of a natural disaster.

Storms are an unfortunate and often times tragic part of life. The damage that these events can cause is staggering to see. As a business, it is important that you understand the danger posed by storms, especially if you operate in a high-risk area. Pay close attention to weather forecasts to boost your response time to potential disasters. You should also engage in worst-case scenario analysis so that you can develop contingency plans and alternatives when faced with a powerful weather event.

Storms and other natural disasters can cause fear and uncertainty in even the most experienced supply chain managers. One way to combat this uncertainty is to surround yourself with qualified people who have the expertise to help you through these trying times. Collaborating with a reputable 3PL such as LTX is a great way to accomplish this. Our experts have both the knowledge and temperament to effectively plan and respond to natural threats to your supply chains. If you would like to take the next step and revolutionize your supply chain then contact us below today!

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