Busy holiday season is long over, but there are more winter challenges we still have to face! Winter weather is one of these things we all know about, but somehow it finds a way to always catch us off guard.
It’s important to remember that supply chain operations can be and will be greatly affected by weather in winter, and these are the conditions we have to work in. Snowstorms, icy roads, extremely low temperatures are causing delays and disruptions every single winter.
We cannot avoid bad winter weather, but we can prepare and get through the season as painlessly as possible. What should you keep in mind this winter?
Keep an eye on the weather reports along your shipping routes. Know what is expected, plan accordingly and make sure both, your team and your customers, are aware of the conditions and challenges surrounding them as well. If you are shipping LTL, it is a good idea to check carrier websites – you will often find extensive information about terminal closures and limited operations.
Challenging conditions are a perfect time to get creative. Of course, severe weather is affecting all modes of transportation, but often at a different extent. It’s possible that shipping your load by rail instead of truck will help you overcome winter capacity crunch on your lane.
Track and Trace
It’s a good idea to track your freight in any situation, but even more so during winter. Severe weather will cause delays and often extend typical transit time. Keep this in mind when planning estimated delivery as well. Does it usually take 6 hours? Expect 12.
Bad weather causes shutdowns. Make sure you communicate with your vendors, customers and so on if you are not shipping between your own locations. Actually, even if you are – double-check just in case. Maybe it will make more sense to push back the pick-up a couple of days.
Plan for the worst case
Don’t over promise and under-deliver. Don’t plan for everything to go according to the perfect scenario when setting your customers expectation. Expect the truck to get snowed in or not start in the morning because of freezing temperatures.
It’s winter: the weather will be bad, often unpredictable and there will be delays. Make sure to plan with potential disruptions in mind, and effectively communicate with everyone involved in the process – and it will not be all that bad!