Weathering the Storm: How Hurricanes Affect Your Supply Chain


View of Hurricane From Space
View of Hurricane From Space

Hurricane season officially runs from June through November. Last year, hurricanes Irma and Harvey created devastating damages. Harvey caused about $180 billion in damage, not taking into account the impact caused across the supply chain through damage to roads, trucks, warehouses, ports, shipping and fulfillment centers, and more. Supply chain visibility and connectivity are especially important after natural disasters like hurricanes.

The 2018 Hurricane Season

According to NPR and researchers from Colorado State University, the 2018 hurricane season will have higher activity, with 14 tropical storms expected They predict seven of these will turn into hurricanes, (having wind speed of at least 74 mph). With three of those seven turning into major hurricanes, Category 3 or higher, with winds reaching a minimum of 111 mph.

Visibility and Communication

To manage the impact of a natural disaster, decisions should be made in real-time as the situation is unfolding. What does this mean for your supply chain? You should communicate to carriers and shippers about where supplies and resources are needed. Companies may need to quickly reroute things like home improvement materials to brace houses for storms, or food and water, which people like to stock up on before a storm hits. This then affects the entire supply chain–capacity is lessened, shipments are slowed, and companies without modern technology can have a breakdown in communication, which can cost millions of dollars. Real-time visibility and communication mitigate this negative impact by providing shippers with the tools they need to respond well to changing conditions.

Predictive Insights

It’s vital to help areas affected by a disaster. Using NextGen, digital supply chain technology like predictive analytics supply chains can even send needed supplies before disaster strikes. Predictive analytics learn from past data of mistakes and solutions, letting you better plan your resources and routing for optimal performance, even during a storm.

How a TMS Can Help

A TMS partner can help you figure out what steps are most useful to your specific goals and circumstances. A quality TMS will help you find the best solutions and connect with you more capacity options.

Have more questions about preparing for hurricane season? Reach out to SwanLeap for more info.

During hurricane season, the only certainty is that our supply chains will be affected. According to Project 44, weather-related disruptions in U.S. Transportation is about $9 billion, and 32.5 billion vehicle hours are lost each year because of weather. With ever-evolving visibility technology, you can know what to expect and protect your supply chain and transportation networks.