5 Tips to Prepare your Supply Chain for Winter Weather

Meteorologists are projecting Winter Storm Jonas to heavily impact much of the eastern United States throughout the weekend.  According to weather.com “As of Thursday morning, just over 73 million – or roughly one in every four Americans – were covered by either a blizzard watch, winter storm watch, winter storm warning, winter weather advisory, or freezing rain advisory from southeast Nebraska to the Carolinas to the New York City metro area.”

The storm is expected to begin by spreading snow and ice from the Carolinas to the Appalachians, Ohio Valley, Tennessee Valley, Mid-South as far west as central Arkansas. The snow mix is then predicted to spread north, expected to impact some or all of the largest cities in the Northeast – Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York.

In addition to the heavy accumulations of snow and ice the strong winds are expected to bring serious coastal flooding along parts of the Atlantic coast. Operational impacts due to weather conditions may be expected over the course of the weekend.

5 tips to help prepare your supply chain to deal with winter weather such as Jonas:

  1. Monitor weather reports online to see what areas are potentially going to be hit while taking into consideration the route and expected destination of the load.
  2. Utilize transportation providers that have the size and scale to handle extra freight volume when capacity in affected area becomes scarce.
  3. Establish clear communication channels within your supply chain to ensure visibility into your operations and allow parts of the network to respond accordingly when others parts of the network may have been stopped/impacted by severe weather.
  4. Consider taking advantage of a broad selection of services in modes outside the one you’re accustomed to shipping in to secure more capacity.
    • For example, if you normally are shipping bulk over the road, you may want to explore intermodal options.
  5. Provide as much lead time on loads as possible so that all potential options can be explored. If you can order early and get product delivered before the storm hits that’s by far the best option.

Weather has and always will be a factor when it comes to transportation. It’s important for logistics planners to proactively strategize and take the time to determine if their current supply chain strategy can handle the winter weather. Odyssey will continue to monitor Winter Storm Jonas and provide updates as needed.