For 3PL companies, weather can impact all facets of warehousing and transportation services.
Here in North Carolina, we’re used to the heat and wet weather. But the coming week’s forecast calls for single digit readings and snow.
As Southerners, we’re not used to it and we don’t like it. But as logisticians, we plan meticulously for just these types of extreme weather events.
Here are a few of the steps that we take to prepare for such conditions – steps that should be part of every 3PL winter weather preparation plan.
3PL Winter Weather Preparation Tips
Communicate with clients.
Extreme winter conditions can impact transportation and deliveries, so it is important to check in with clients as soon as such conditions are forecasted. By planning well in advance of severe weather and modifying transportation logistics accordingly, 3PLs and suppliers can work together to ensure adequate inventory and prevent stockouts.
The National Weather Service is a trusted resource for forecasts and related warnings. 3PLs should also stay connected to emergency management agencies for similar updates. Kanban is actually an emergency response logistics center for the State of North Carolina.
Check sprinkler systems.
The backbone of every facility’s safety efforts, sprinkler systems and their related control systems must be carefully checked in advance of cold weather and then monitored throughout the cold spell. The backup systems must also be tested.
For wet systems – which are not generally designed for climates where the temperature regularly drops below 40°F – the electronic monitoring component is especially vital. For dry systems, pipe insulation should be checked and improved accordingly.
Ensure proper temperature control.
3PLs like Kanban who work in food logistics and pharmaceutical logistics understand the critical importance of temperature control. Kanban has gone to great lengths to ensure effective temperature control at its facilities through temperature mapping and related validation/certification.
Look for clear evidence from your warehousing company or 3PL that existing temperature control systems are well-maintained and tested in advance of extreme temperatures outside.
Test backup generators.
Even the most temporary loss of power can have a profound impact on revenue. Generators must be in good working order, serviced if necessary, and tested prior to the arrival of winter weather.
Bring equipment inside.
During a severe weather event, we often house trucks, lifts, and other essential equipment inside between usages. This protects the equipment from the elements and ensures that it will be ready to go when needed.
Arrange travel for associates.
Without people there to process them, orders won’t get out the door. For our customer’s, that’s not really an option, so Kanban will actually pick up associates who can’t get to work because of road conditions.
Facilitate employee safety.
Great care should be taken to ensure that employees can get to and from work safely; that drivers follow all necessary safety precautions and stay informed about the weather; and that workplace safety measures are followed to the letter – especially on outdoor docks and pathways.
“Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail”
While some of these 3PL winter weather tips may seem like common sense, failing to plan can lead to costly service disruptions. Make sure your 3PL partner has a plan in place to ensure service continuity this winter season.