Winter Weather Supply Chain Challenges: Is Your Business Prepared?


From the past to the present, the logistics transportation industry has made great progress. The most important development among these is the widespread use of cold storage containers used for perishable foods. Refrigerated systems are significant tools for developing to international trade and transportation. This system creates significant tolls for international trade and transportation.

In the past, drivers were able to transport perishable products mainly during the winter season due to lack of temperature-controlled containers. Today, refrigerated transportation technologies have advanced so far that enables them to easily transport all year around. However, even with the development of technological equipment, inclement weather is still one of the toughest challenges businesses in the shipping industry will face. What makes extreme weather so troublesome for the supply chain is that it is unpredictable and can come in many forms including flooding, storms, and freezing temperatures. Is your business ready for all of the challenges caused by acts of nature? By planning ahead, you will be able to evaluate the situation more clearly and thoroughly. Thus, minimizing the effects of winter’s wrath will be much easier.

Impact of Winter Weather on the Global Supply Chain

Nowadays, global supply chains are stressed currently by increased demand for goods, Covid-related labor shortages, and a scarcity of raw materials to name a few among many factors. All of this affects both international and local shipping systems, creating demand for supply chains.

Given the challenging situation in the current global supply chain, the upcoming winter season will cause more supply chain congestion. Weather conditions affect the transportation of freight in a variety of ways, from delaying your supply chain and raising costs to the final destinations, to extreme cases of lost freight and damaged goods. With the closure of ports, negative consequences in maritime shipping are experienced more frequently. Particularly, due to severe winter storm causes huge disruptions and delays to the global shipping industry as vessels were forced to wait for the canal to reopen or take the much longer route. In the upcoming season, the most challenging of the global supply chain will be weather conditions.

How to Prepare Your Supply Chain: 3 Ways to Get Ahead of Winter Weather

Although weather conditions cannot be controlled, it’s imperative that businesses have systems and strategies for tracking potential disruptions and preemptively addressing them. Here are three key tips that supply chains can overcome the risks of extreme weather.

1. Weather Forecasting

Accurate weather forecasting can reduce some weather-based supply chain difficulties. Following these forecasts closely will definitely help you plan ahead for a major storm that is coming: distributors can deliver proactively and retailers can be well supplied to meet the increase in customer demand.

2. Multi-Warehouse Management

While harsh weather is near-impossible to predict in advance, some areas exist in zones likely to experience hurricanes, tornadoes, and storms. Such situations can be avoided by simply having a backup plan for these kinds of emergencies. For instance, the management of operations in multiple warehouses keeping the same products in separate warehouses provides great advantages in tricky/problematic weather conditions. While this seems like an additional cost, it is a necessary one, given the damage that bad weather can cause and it’s also a potentially cost-saving measure in the long term.

3. Time Management

Businesses are looking for fast, even next-day deliveries, due to the rush around the holiday season. Alternative routes and options should always be an additional backup plan to ensure sufficient lead time on shipments. Managing businesses’ shipping time expectations, considering delays that may result from bad weather, will add value to your business.

Even as technological developments in the global supply chain are improving day by day, unfortunately the weather remains an unavoidable fact. For this reason, winter is the time of the year that can cause the most headaches, as weather conditions are constantly changing and becoming extreme, impacting shipping times and overall supply chain success. Extreme weather conditions still appear as the biggest challenge in the supply chain. However, that doesn’t mean their effects cannot be prevented. Despite the uncontrollable weather conditions, accurate weather forecasting, backup plans and managing businesses’ shipping time minimize the impact of bad weather into the winter season.