As the holiday season approaches, there are a number of freight tips companies should take into account to ensure that their supply chain continues to function efficiently and cost effectively. Companies must also consider the challenges presented by winter weather that accompanies the holiday season.
Anticipating transportation delays and mapping suppliers that could be affected by big storms and freezing temperatures, are good first steps.
Winter Giving Transportation the Cold Shoulder
The 2015 – 2016 winter season was responsible for a record-breaking blizzard that brought freight transportation in mid-Atlantic states to a halt for a number of days as crews worked to clear the roads of upwards of 3 feet of snow in cities such as Richmond, Baltimore, New York City and Philadelphia. Immobilizing snow also fell across areas in Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky and Arkansas and thousands of freight cargo flights were grounded as major transportation hubs were closed.
Outside of unavoidable transit delays, companies also need to consider physically protecting their freight shipments from the harshness of winter.
Outside of unavoidable transit delays, companies also need to consider physically protecting their freight shipments from the harshness of winter. You should also consider working with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider that is able to offer an all-inclusive coverage plan for freight shipments to alleviate the pains of not only damaged freight, but to protect temperature sensitive shipments as well.
Technology Gives Logistics Some Valuable Insight
Weather forecasts are all well and good, but even preparing for delays due to the weather will only go so far. What about when the unexpected should occur. A truck carrying temperature sensitive materials breaks down and will miss its scheduled drop off. Will it be caught in time to make other arrangements? This creates a rather dangerous guessing game when it comes to sensitive freight. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is creating a valuable web of information that users can access, in real time…
The Internet of Things (IoT) is creating a valuable web of information that users can access, in real time, to check the location and the status of their freight. That sort of information can make the difference between arranging a truck transfer to get cargo to its destination on time and watching, in horror, as millions of dollars of product simply goes to waste because of a mechanical error, as was nearly the case for Biogen, whose truck carrying temperature sensitive pharmaceutical components was nearly lost when a truck broke down.
Not only does this information greatly help with making logistics decisions, especially when it comes to rerouting a truck due to weather concerns, but it can also help to control shipping costs and strengthen the working relationship of a shipper and a 3PL service provider. That alone can be reason enough, especially when it comes to dealing with the rather unpredictable Winter weather.
Find a 3PL Who can Handle the Cold
It’s important to understand that ‘Acts of God,’ such as extreme winter weather, are not covered when it comes to guaranteed or expedited freight. Being prepared in advance and moving shipments earlier than routinely expected when weather is expected, is something a transportation partner would help with.
A prepared 3PL will understand that every company has its own specific needs in relation to freight transportation and in the winter months
A prepared 3PL will understand that every company has its own specific needs in relation to freight transportation and in the winter months that can mean that some shipments need to maintain an above freezing temperature in order to maintain their quality and value. As many items such as perishable foods, chemicals & electronics are ruined and become useless if they reach a temperature below freezing, it’s important to be ahead of the coming cold.
There are several different means of protection available for shipments such as these and a reputable 3PL will work with specific carriers to make sure that your freight is taken care of properly. From heated or insulated trailers and temperature sensitive load planning and routing technology, to on-site snow removal and cargo quilt thermal blanket protection, your shipment will be protected.
Finding a 3PL that has a large network of LTL and truckload providers that offer freeze protection services to ensure that your shipments arrive safely, and on time, is key to your supply chain’s success this winter.
The challenges of winter are nothing new but preparation in advance is key. Are you prepared?