Why Ohio Supply Chains Must Be Hurricane-Ready

The official Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30. While those of us in Northeast Ohio are safely tucked away from direct impact, local supply chains in this region still need to be hurricane-ready. Those Ohio 3PL providers like On Time Delivery & Warehouse that have national and international reach can’t afford to waste time weighing IF they’re going to be ready for natural disasters – but rather HOW. Cleveland supply chains

For example, our Cleveland supply chain network of local ports includes those in Galveston, TX, Houston, TX, Miami, FL, Charleston, SC and New York-New Jersey – all of which have the potential to be affected by Atlantic hurricanes. We recognize that even if a storm doesn’t hit one of those locations this year, it’s likely than not they will be affected by one in some way over the next few years. We must be ready.

If you work with a third-party logistics company (or you’re searching for one), it’s important to inquire about their disaster mitigation strategy is, especially if a key part of your supply chain is in a coastal area or one prone to other natural disasters. No one can predict with perfect accuracy when and where a storm will strike, but smart supply chains utilize the benefit of historical data to help us form workable contingency plans.

More Powerful Hurricanes Expected to Disrupt Supply Chains in 2018

The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) defines an average Atlantic hurricane season as having 12 named storms, six of them hurricanes. Earlier this year, Colorado State University researchers opined there would be 14 named storms this year, with seven of those hurricanes.

Last year was one of the most active hurricane seasons on record. Four of those hurricanes were so massive in their destruction, their names were retired by the U.N. World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Those were Irma (Florida), Harvey (Texas), Maria (Puerto Rico) and Nate (Caribbean). The disruptions to logistics, agriculture and energy were major, including millions left without power, huge crop losses and critical ports abruptly shut down operations. The Port of Houston (again, one of those in On Time Delivery & Warehouse’s network) was closed for a full week post-Harvey, resulting in critical shipment delays some suppliers reported lost them millions.

Kettering University (which offers a Master’s of Science in Supply Chain Management) opines the supply chain headaches caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are likely to prove instructive for risk chain managers for years to come.

Ohio-Based Supply Chains Must Be Hurricane Ready

You cannot afford for your the company managing your supply chains to be caught off-guard by these events. Knowing which routes, ports and warehouses are likely to be impacted is necessary to crafting the best alternative options. Although such contingency plans may not account for every possibility, they’ll give you a good chance of minimizing losses.

It might not be an option to relocate physical sites like warehouses and factories during the storm season, but transportation firm assets and equipment may need to be moved as soon as there is reliable information regarding when/ where a major storm will make landfall.

Supply chains also need to account for the fact that sometimes emergency response measures can lead to backups and delays. Our clients have discovered that having a responsive, prepared and communicative Cleveland 3PL is crucial in times of crisis.

If you have questions about Cleveland supply chain management, contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or sending us an email.

Additional Resources:

How to Prepare Your Supply Chain for Hurricane Season, Michigan State University

More Blog Entries:

Supply Chain Management Statistics That Might Surprise You, July 30, 2018, Cleveland Supply Chains Leader Blog

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