If you’re paying attention to supply chain news lately, you probably noticed a new emphasis on sustainability. There’s good reason for that. Climate related weather events are causing some serious supply chain disruptions. From Texas freezing over to Florida’s highly active hurricane season to flooding in the lower Mississippi valley, a lot of shippers were caught off guard by irregular weather.

And all evidence points to the continued need for adaptable and sustainable supply chains.

Every 10 years NOAA releases updates to something called climate normals. Climate normals are 30-year averages for variables like temperature and precipitation. They are absolutely crucial for developing responses to changing weather patterns. This year’s update shows some interesting trends in the U.S.

  • The temperature is heating up across the country.
  • The eastern two thirds (east of the Rockies) of the country are wetter.
  • The southwest is significantly drier (on both a 10 year and annual basis).
  • The northern central part of the country is cooling down.

The need for sustainable practices is evident. But sustainability isn’t the only thing needed to keep the supply chain going. With unpredictable weather patterns come more disruptions, rising fuel costs, and greater demand for capacity. So on top of an already volatile domestic supply chain, shippers have to contend with increased volatility due to climate change. This is where technology can help sustain your existing operations while making you more sustainable.

Leveraging the power of technology gives you…

  • Flexibility of a transportation marketplace so you never miss a shipment.
  • Data and Analytics to highlight climate disruptions and plan ahead.
  • Automation of processes to reduce your electronics footprint and paper waste.
  • Route optimization for shorter routes with fewer miles traveled.
  • Mode shopping to optimize shipments for low carbon emissions.
  • Inbound visibility to know if vendors are consolidating loads to reduce carbon emissions.

As global supply chains adapt to more intense climate conditions, shippers should focus on technology that enables flexibility and sustainability. Healing the climate is a long game that requires both the short term benefits of a flexible supply chain strategy with the long term benefits of more sustainable practices to stop further climate disasters.