Critical Communications, Critical Event Management, Winter Weather

Stop Winter Weather from Putting the Deep Freeze on Your Supply Chain

By Shannon Gallo

With holiday festivities right around the corner, the expected volatility of incoming winter weather poses a serious threat to supply chains that facilitate the seasonal uptick in commerce. Whether it’s shopping for gifts, stocking up on ice melting products or installing snow tires, the cold creates high levels of customer demand.

While we may be used to this annual juggernaut, this year winter comes with the added complexities of COVID-19, worker shortages and, most recently, severe port delays. Currently, the shipment of goods across the Pacific between the U.S. and Asia is taking twice as long as prior to the pandemic.

So, what does this combination of unpredictable precipitation and a dynamic global supply chain disruption right before the holiday retail rush mean for your organization? Let’s take a look:

Prepare for the Global Ripple Effect

As we’ve seen from China’s recent power outage, what happens there affects us here in the U.S. Disruptions faced by overseas suppliers have a severe impact on the ability of businesses here to build and deliver product. To mitigate this risk, preparation is key. In addition to an agile and forward-thinking management team, organizations need the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to strengthen resiliency.

Critical event management (CEM) systems powered by AI are able to rapidly analyze a vast spread of data that includes customer demand, existing bottlenecks and severe weather forecasts, both globally and locally. This means your organization can problem-solve in advance, rather than falling victim to sudden supply chain disruptions. Whether you have to find an alternate source, a different shipping route or an actual replacement material, planning ahead increases your chances of finding a literal port in the upcoming storms.

Take Advantage of Risk Intelligence, Sooner Rather than Later

Risk intelligence leverages AI to show you the combined impact of factors such as severe weather, global supply chain issues and local infrastructure outages on your particular operations.  With this knowledge, you’ll be able to accurately determine what’s necessary to keep them running smoothly.

The seasonal surge in shopping can put a strain on carriers and routes that affects all types of organizations, not just those in the retail business. By pre-arranging temporary contracts with substitute suppliers and carriers, you can both reduce and budget for the high fees that are often associated with short-term emergency solutions.

Most importantly, risk intelligence gives you the ability to strategize for how you’ll safeguard your people, places and property. When every minute counts, getting the right messages to the right people at the right time goes a long way toward mitigating catastrophe. Advanced warnings enable everyone to take action to minimize threat – not only to your organization but to the communities it serves.

Develop Thorough Contingency Plans

Based on the information we have now regarding unpredictable weather and ongoing bottlenecks at critical ports, it’s crucial to be prepared to shift your productions. This is another area where a CEM platform can facilitate business continuity in today’s unstable atmosphere. Accurate predictions and instant communications mean you can increase capacity at alternate production centers before it reaches a non-recoverable low.

The same applies for rebalancing your carriers. With a well-distributed network and a reliable critical communications system, you can take the burden off overwhelmed carriers and alert those less-impacted that you need a temporary delivery increase. This prevents a single point of failure and keeps your products flowing. Remember, this is the time to be fluid.

Critical Communications Keep Stakeholders Updated and Assured

The more perilous the climate, the more important it is to reassure employees, customers, vendors and investors that you have a plan to stay ahead of the storm. Think through how you’ll handle these issues, and then make sure to relay your strategy clearly in different scenarios:

  • Employee Shift Changes: When winter weather causes unsafe driving conditions, how will you adjust your schedule and communicate those changes to your staff?
  • Vendor Shipping Modifications: What are your options when your air, ground, freight and shipping carriers are compromised?
  • Customer Distribution Delays: How will you notify and mollify your customers when delivery is held up?
  • Investor Returns and Company Profit Margins: Where can you make adjustments to stabilize your solvency?
  • Regulatory Compliance: How will you document your actions during a critical event to satisfy legal requirements and local regulations?

The right CEM platform can help you answer all of these questions via real-time intelligence reporting. Get the information you need to improve your decision-making process and shore up your contingency plans. A critical communications product lets you relay your plans swiftly and efficiently to everyone. Create templates for instructions and pre-fill them in advance, along with all of your targeted contact groups. That way, when the time comes to take action, you’re poised to pivot.

Want to learn more about mitigating risk and strengthening resiliency during the winter season? Request a demo today.  For a closer look at employee safety and communications strategy for winter weather, read this blog.