Logistics Nightmares: Freight Transportation During Weather Events

Unexpected weather events can wreak havoc on domestic freight transportation and the 4 ‘ways’: roadways, railways, runways, and waterways. Trucking (on roadways) is the largest (70% of the manufacturing and warehousing industries) and often the hardest hit industry for that reason during these big storms. The Superstorm in 1993, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Polar Vortex in 2014, and even the blizzards this last month come to mind as some of the most challenging for supply chain, logistics, and material handling stakeholders. Jonathan Foster, principal consultant for Proxima, a strategic team of procurement specialists, says “As a rule of thumb, it will take 3 times the rate of the shutdown to recover fully” from an article in Logistics Management. This means a week-long storm can take almost a month to recover.

As highways get bombarded by hurricanes, blizzards, flooding, or high winds, supply chain disruptions strain the relationships between shippers and their core carriers. Information flow and proactive communications are the biggest keys to recovery and keeping all parties involved happy after shipping delays caused by weather. “We’re not only in the transportation business-we are also in the communication business” says Dominic Zastarskis, CEO at GP Transco in Joliet, Illinois from Inbound Logistics. Proactive communication means keeping expectations, forecasts, capabilities, changes in shipment status, and performance open and transparent between a shipper and carrier. Oftentimes communication can get complicated as shippers often utilize different 3PL, freight forwarding, couriers, as well as subcontracted logistics and transportation services to stay competitive.

Tactical technology solutions with the capabilities to monitor changes as they happen is crucial to staying ahead of large weather events. StrataFlows is the cloud-based platform to proactively plan for and keep up with changes in material movement and supply chain. Our platform is an incident command center allowing users to have end-to-end real-time visibility when a part goes missing or a supplier is late during changes in supply. We help clients stay resilient in these times by keeping production flowing by tracking suppliers, demand, and issues, and give them the tools they need to take action. The Issue Tracker module, along with its built-in reporting and dashboarding capabilities, helps our clients keep their continuous improvement goals by giving visibility and collaboration tools to stay agile in a changing market. Click here to for a free trial of StrataFlows.

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