As Hurricane Ian bears down on the Florida coastline, businesses are preparing for potential supply chain disruptions.
This storm is expected to pack a punch and cause widespread damage with potential winds up to 155 mph, as well as torrential rains that could lead into significant flooding in some areas of the state.
Businesses should take precautions to protect their logistics and supply chain to ensure operations can continue uninterrupted in the event of a hurricane.
In this blog post, we provide some insight into preparing for a hurricane and the impact it may have on a business.
Create a Disaster Preparedness Plan
When property is damaged it can be difficult to get back on your feet. Businesses may be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Worse, properties may be condemned if they are no longer structurally safe to inhabit. Creating loss of access to products, tools, and materials.
Many businesses may cease to operate. Some may be weighing a decision to rebuild or move.
Businesses can take steps to prevent, or minimize, the damage caused by hurricanes by being proactive and creating a plan on how to continue operating and what impacts it will have on their supply chain and operations.
Why Is Predicting Hurricanes Important
For companies that have time-sensitive shipments, it is crucial to track the hurricane’s path and make necessary adjustments to ensure product safety and timely delivery. Businesses should be aware of any port closures or impacts to infrastructure that could affect their supply chain.
There are a few ways to stay on top of the hurricane’s progress:
- The National Hurricane Center (NHC)
- Local news and media channels
- Twitter feeds from emergency management agencies and port authorities
What Is Included in a Business Continuation Plan
A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that outlines how a company will continue operations during and after an interruption or disaster.
The goal of a BCP is to minimize the disruption to the business and protect critical functions, assets, and employees.
When crafting a BCP, businesses should consider the following:
- Identify which business functions are critical to operations
- Determine how long the company can operate without each function
- Assess the risks associated with each function
- Develop contingency plans for each function
- A plan for alternate site locations and/or working remotely
- A plan for maintaining or quickly restoring critical systems
- Communication plans for employees, customers, and other stakeholders
Developing and implementing a BCP can be costly, but the cost of not having one can be much higher. Businesses that are prepared for disruptions tend to recover more quickly and experience less financial damage than those that are not prepared.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a variety of resources on their website, including templates and guides for developing a BCP.
How To Ensure Business Continuity
It is important to have a plan in place so that you can quickly adapt when a hurricane is approaching. By being proactive and making changes ahead of time, you can avoid supply chain disruptions that could severely impact your business.
There are a few key supply chain considerations that businesses should consider when preparing for a hurricane:
- Have alternative suppliers in place in case your primary supplier is impacted by the hurricane
- Plan for how you will transport goods if freight transportation is disrupted. This may include rerouting shipments, changing delivery methods to ensure product safety, or different modes of transportation
- Store inventory in alternate locations if your usual storage facilities are inaccessible
- Stockpiling inventory in case of a prolonged disruption
- Modify production plans and delivery schedules
- If your business has multiple locations, consider diverting shipments to other facilities outside of the hurricane’s path
- Plan for delays in shipments
What Should Your Business Do to Prepare for a Hurricane
As a business, there are several things you can do to protect your supply chain and freight transportation in the event of a hurricane.
You should take precautions to protect your facility, equipment, and inventory from high winds and flooding.
Some ways to do this include:
- Installing hurricane shutters or impact-resistant glass
- Ensure all windows and doors are properly secured
- Clearing debris from around your building
- Securely fasten any outdoor signage
- Reinforce any weak points in your building
- Patch up any issues you may have with your roof
- Anchoring outdoor furniture and equipment
- Move vehicles and equipment to higher ground
- Storing valuable items in waterproof containers
- Disconnecting and securing any loose electrical wiring
- Review your insurance coverage
How Will a Hurricane Impact Logistics and Supply Chain Management
A hurricane can have a significant impact on supply chains and logistics. Here are some ways that a hurricane could affect supply chains:
- Hurricane force winds can damage infrastructure including roads, bridges, and railways. This can disrupt the flow of goods and materials
- Ports may be closed, preventing ships from coming in or going out
- Airports may be closed, making it difficult to transport goods by air
- Fuel supplies may be disrupted, making it difficult to transport goods by truck or plane
- Carriers can put embargoes or refuse service to certain areas
- A hurricane can disrupt communication systems, making it difficult to coordinate supply chain activities
- Increased costs for transportation and shipping
- Loss or damage of goods in transit
- Disruption to the supply of raw materials
- An increase in demand for certain goods and services as people stock up on supplies. This can lead to shortages of some items
- Difficulty getting goods from suppliers due to transportation disruptions
- Electricity supply may be interrupted, making it difficult to store, or use, perishable items
- Flooding can damage warehouses and other storage facilities. This can lead t shortages of essential goods and materials
- Power outages can disrupt production facilities and distribution centers. This can cause delays in the supply of goods and materials
What Can Consumers Do to Prepare for a Hurricane
#HurricaneStrong is an initiative with a ton of helpful information to help you in the event of a hurricane.
A hurricane can have a significant impact on supply chains and logistics. By taking some simple steps to prepare, businesses can minimize the disruptions caused by a hurricane.
Would you like some assistance with your Business Continuation Plan? Reach out to our team today to see how we can bring you value.