Hurricane Coming? What to do when disaster preparedness means taking your supply chain into the eye of the storm.

Five steps to safely secure assets in and around the affected area ahead of time.

 

lean logistics through value stream mapping processTypically, when a hurricane watch turns into a hurricane warning and supply chains swing into action, it’s to swiftly move people, assets and resources out of harm’s way. But what if you need to ramp back up in an instant when the worst is over? What if your disaster preparedness plan doesn’t mean moving from the storm – but securing assets in and around where the affected area is expected to be?

Sound counterintuitive? Not if you’re in the retail, utility or healthcare business. Instead of shifting into lockdown mode, the goal is to safely place assets in and around where the affected area will be. If you’re a power or telecommunications provider, your mission is to restore service as quickly as possible. Hospitals have to keep running and restore operations quickly. Retail operations typically have to double or triple inventory to provide food, water, ice and medical supplies before, during and after the event.

Here’s a checklist of the top 5 steps to take to get assets secured in and around the affected area:

  1. Stay informed: be aware of what’s out there. Know the storm, its size and expected impact. Track its trajectory so you know where it’s headed and can plan accordingly.
  2. Line up trucks and drivers: the reality is, you may be competing with FEMA for resources if you don’t do this ahead of time. Request reinforcements from other parts of the country. Then round up equipment, whether it’s flatbed trailers, reefers or refrigerated units to transport food, ice and medical supplies.Keep in mind, you may need twice or triple the number of vehicles and drivers you usually use. Make sure all preventive maintenance is done, trucks are fully fueled and you have a place to fuel if power is knocked out. Don’t have access to these resources within your own organization? Partner with a provider ahead of time that can secure assets for you.
  3. Book hotel rooms: if you’re bringing in managers, drivers, and other extra people from other parts of the country, make sure you have arrangements in place to house them.
  4. Set up agreements with vendors ahead of time: along with internal PO process and vendor onboarding. Have agreements in place with partners/vendors in other parts of the state so that you can store vehicles, equipment and provisions there and dispatch them to the affected area once the storm passes. Work collaboratively with suppliers and business partners well before a hurricane’s on the radar, rather than later when the emergency is imminent. Procure commodity supplies from multiple sources so you have a fallback in the event of a failure with one supplier.
  5. Establish a hierarchy of responsibility:  designate an emergency/crisis team with defined roles, responsibilities, procedures, methods of information sharing and shifts at your staging site or wherever you’re mobilizing assets. Have a location manager or senior logistics manager on-site at all times, ideally in shifts to provide 24-hour coverage. Organize drivers into shifts too, so that when the first crew goes home, fresh drivers can come in behind them.

To learn more about readying your supply chain for a hurricane, read our earlier post titled “Can you swing your supply chain into action when disaster strikes?”

Stay tuned for the next post in our Disaster Preparedness Series on preparing your equipment before a storm.

 

Written by Glenn Stept, Group Manager, Ryder Dedicated™

 Mr. Stept is a Group Manager with Ryder Dedicated™. Mr. Stept has over 25 years of experience in the supply chain and logistics industry. Throughout his time at Ryder, Mr. Stept has implemented, operated, and supported numerous supply chain operations for customers across a variety of industry segments.