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Crisis Planning: How To Prepare Your Supply Chain

Severe weather has come and gone on the East Coast. However, flood waters continue to rise. Some areas of North Carolina had almost three feet of rain. Hurricane Florence is now known as the wettest tropical system to hit North Carolina (World Vision). The storm caused delays on local freight in, or shipped to the impacted areas. Most ports have re-opened and resumed operations, however some of North Carolina’s main ports have seen damage and will hopefully reopen soon. 

The aftermath of Hurricane Florence is top of mind, but what may be just as astonishing is the planning that went on before Hurricane Florence struck.  For many businesses, having a crisis planning strategy can save you, literally.  When it comes to a business' supply chain, crisis planning is critical.  As experts in supply chain management, here’s our approach when it comes to preparing for hurricanes and other natural disasters. 

Safety always remains our top priority. 

First and foremost, we are concerned about the safety of all those impacted, and to our employees in the affected areas. The safety of our clients’ freight is also high priority. 

For local last-mile deliveries, facilities are closed for the protection of our employees, all equipment and clients’ freight. Customers are contacted prior to the interruption and provided the earliest delivery date we anticipate being able to safely deliver their merchandise.

For fulfillment shipments, clients may choose to hold orders destined for the impacted area. Otherwise, parcel carriers will typically stop accepting shipments to the impacted areas. Once it’s safe to ship, those orders may be released by the client to FIDELITONE or the carrier will resume accepting shipments to the impacted area.

It all starts with good planning. 

One of the primary items typically included in an RFP (request for proposal) from prospective clients is a disaster recovery plan. Planning ahead for these types of emergencies will typically mitigate any interruption in service. Every professional third-party logistics provider has a playbook for emergencies.

A multi-location network provides added security.

If a FIDELITONE Distribution Center is located in the impacted area, we may divert orders to an alternate center for inventory storage. This allows clients who have operations across multiple FIDELITONE locations to continue to run their businesses if one location is destroyed or damaged. Data centers enables us to keep the systemic part of the operation, and directs us when we need to divert activity to other FIDELITONE fulfillment locations.

Communication is also key. 

When there is advanced notification to an interruption like in this case with severe weather, we proactively communicate our action plan to clients. Our Account Management team provides regular updates throughout the service interruption. It’s important to have a crisis communication plan in place ahead of time. 

Quick recovery is the goal. 

The better we plan ahead and communicate, the more effectively we are able to resume service in the impacted areas. A sound plan, regular testing, and a professional team make this all possible. 

Is your supply chain ready for a catastrophe?

Contact FIDELITONE and we’ll work with you to prepare a disaster recovery plan.

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10/21/2016 5:00:00 PM
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