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Weather-proofing your supply chain


Author: Benjamin Wang

Weather can be really troublesome for your supply chain if you are not properly prepared for it. If you or your suppliers are at risk of flooding, hurricanes, heavy snow and other severe weather, this can be highly problematic.

You can prepare yourself for severe weather conditions. Consider what other countries do and let that inform your plans. Here are a few things that can help you.

Assess the threats

Look at where your suppliers are located and think of the potential severe weather that they may face. For example, in the US, East Coast companies could face hurricanes in summer and autumn and heavy snowfall in winter. Other parts of the country may face flooding. Think about the risks and work out how your company would be affected if supply was halted by bad weather.

Winter supply chain

Have a continuity plan

For suppliers that are at risk, find out what continuity plans they have in place to deal with severe weather. If they don’t have a plan then they could put your company at risk when bad weather hits, so ask them to review the conditions that might affect them. Some Australian businesses, for example, need to prepare for cyclones, severe storms, flood, bushfires and droughts. To aid with this, the Queensland government has made checklists to help businesses form a continuity plan. These could aid businesses elsewhere in the world. If you find that one of your suppliers is not well prepared, and the risk that poses to your business is too high, then seek a different vendor.

Be sure of insurance

Check that your suppliers are properly insured so that the cost of rebuilding can be covered in the event of a natural disaster

Get back-up

Have secondary suppliers in place to fill in for your usual vendors should they be disrupted by severe weather. Work out which of your key suppliers might face interruptions and then look for good vendors that can replace them during this time. Find alternative suppliers that work in different areas, use different ports and use other means of transportation or different routes. Once you find good back-up suppliers, put procedures in place so that you can switch between your primary and secondary vendors easily and minimise interruptions.

To get more advice on how to weather-proof your supply chain, contact our team in the heart of the UK.

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