- Winter has come, and supply chains have already begun to suffer the consequences. Two recent articles highlight some tips to best prepare for snowstorms and their logistical effects.
- Based on Ryder’s winter preparedness page, Food Logistics noted advance planning, frequent fleet maintenance, understanding proper fueling techniques and ensuring drivers are trained in winter safety are important day-to-day tasks, especially when the temperature drops below 20 degrees.
- Yet fleets are not the only link affected in the chain, Strategic Sourceror adds companies must ensure their loading and unloading docks are clear and salted for delivery, power losses accounted for. Meanwhile, supply managers should ensure they extend lead times generally to allow for weather-related delays.
Dangerous road conditions are nothing to take lightly. The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports on average 2% of all crashes between 1990 and 2014 were caused by snow or sleet.
In more recent news, winter storm Helena stranded motorists of all types along supply routes in Alabama and Georgia last weekend, causing hours of service regulations to be lifted for drivers rushing emergency goods and materials to areas under a weather siege. Snow and ice made I-20/59, I-20 and I-459 largely impassable, resulting in vehicle blockages on both sides of the highway near Birmingham, AL.
There is only so much a fleet manager can do to prepare drivers for snowstorm conditions. Though repeat route checks and weather reviews are advisable when storms are imminent, a manager must calculate the potential delay a storm might cause the supply chain, and decide whether simply rescheduling the trip is wiser and safer than potentially stranding a driver, his vehicle, and the goods he carries.