Top 5 Tips to Prepare Your Supply Chain for a Hurricane

Dedicated Transportation, Energy & Utilities, Fleet Management, Healthcare, Retail, Supply Chain
May 31, 2016

Hurricane PreparednessAs the 2016 hurricane season begins, proper planning can ensure your supply chain isn’t disrupted if you’re in the path of a storm. Typically, when a hurricane watch or warning is issued, supply chains begin to move people, assets, and resources out of harm’s way. But what if you need to ramp back up in an instant when the storm has passed? 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 five steps to secure assets in and around the affected area:

Stay informed: Be aware of what’s out there. Know the storm, its size, and expected impact. Track the path of the storm so you know where it’s headed and can plan accordingly.

Line up trucks and drivers: 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 double 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.

Book hotel rooms: If you’re bringing in managers, drivers, and other personnel from other parts of the country, make sure you have arrangements in place to house them.

Set up agreements with vendors ahead of time: 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.

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.

For more hurricane safety and preparedness information, visit ryder.com.

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