One day our office phone rang. This guy, let’s call him Jim, is a long-standing client. Jim is usually pretty cool, calm and collected, but this time I can hear a note of urgency in his voice.
“We’ll lose all our product if we don’t move it today,” Jim said.
It was September of 2021 and Jim worked for a food manufacturing company in Louisiana. Hurricane Ida had raged through Jim’s hometown a bit over a week ago, laying waste to lives, property, businesses, and infrastructure. And all of this right in the thick of Covid-19. The food industry had already taken a beating, but for a lot of food manufacturers in the Ida-ravaged coastal towns of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama this felt like the coffin’s last nail.
And here our client was, in the heart of a disaster zone, a great business that had taken one too many hits with a warehouse full of refrigerated products and backup generator power that was rapidly running out.
I told Jim we’d get back to him as soon as we had a plan.
The clock was ticking.
Hurricane preparedness isn’t a thing
Hurricanes decimate supply chains. No surprises there. Any physically destructive event that happens over such vast tracts of land is bound to have a disastrous impact on transportation and distribution.
It’s hard, though, to capture the magnitude of disruption.
Even for seasoned supply chain operators, getting a company’s supply chain back on its feet in a hurricane-affected area can feel like an impossible dilemma. Here are some of the logistics demons you’re fighting against:
- First, you have the obvious physical destruction: Roads? Impassable. An enormous corridor of businesses and storage locations will either be disrupted, damaged or destroyed. Some of the physical impacts will be instant and crippling. Others are more like a slow bleed, slowly draining away logistics reliability over weeks or even months.
- Then, you have the wild card human factor: No physical catastrophe is purely physical; it’s also psychological. People will be struggling and fearful, and organizations will manifest those fears. The classic example in logistics: reduced carrier availability. You can get carriers placing an embargo on affected areas, temporarily steering well clear of affected and adjacent locales. Fear generates unpredictability. Business will only return to normal in unpredictable stops and starts.
- And beneath it all lurks the domino effect: Disasters don’t play out in neat lines of causality. A shockwave of disruption will typically send ripples out across vast areas. Three weeks after a hurricane vanishes into the ether, critical providers and locations across our nationwide supply chain may suddenly sink into a slough of supply chain inefficiency.
Unassailable hurricane preparedness isn’t a thing. There are too many unknowns.
IL2000 can harden your supply chain to improve its disaster resilience, but you can’t be prepared for every contingency when angry thunderheads appear on your horizon.
What you need is a hurricane response strategy
You’re far from helpless! You can react swiftly and intelligently when disaster strikes.
This is where IL2000’s rapid response can dramatically improve your path to recovery. Guiding you through a flurry of quick, precise decisions, we’ll help you pivot away from the unknown and back into controlled supply chain outcomes.
IL2000 allocates a dedicated team to each of our clients. This means that you have access to experts who understand your business back-to-front because they’ve been working with you all along.
Here are the building blocks that make IL2000 the team you want at your back when things go sideways.
Call us day or night
Just as Jim did when Ida descended in Louisiana in 2021, you can always call us. IL2000 has developed an emergency response methodology that’s unique among 3PLs. Call us around the clock and someone at IL2000 will get your call. A supply chain expert can be actively working with you to find solutions in under 15 minutes.
Get early warnings
We also keep our eyes on the sky. When a severe weather event is on its way to you, we’ll be watching its path and developing recommendations. In the critical hours leading up to T minus zero, we’ll be working with you to minimize the fallout. This can also help you deliver messaging to your customers to let them know what’s going on and set reasonable expectations.
Find the quickest path back to normality
After a natural disaster, it can take hours of phone calls to identify carriers and routes still in operation around you. IL2000 manages that task for you, analyzing reams of data to give you clear guidance on which lanes are opening back up and how to adapt your freight operation to events as they unfold. We’ll help you get freight out of your warehouse door in less time and with greater certainty.
Jim’s business is still alive and kicking
You might be wondering what happened to Jim!
IL2000 had three refrigerated trailers sitting at his dock within two hours. Those trucks safely transported his company’s time-sensitive produce to a fully functional refrigerated facility and Jim’s business lived to fight another day.
Those make-or-break hours were an ordeal for Jim, the drivers, and the people on our team who scrambled to find an answer. But if hurricanes are good at inflicting seemingly insurmountable problems, expertise and passion are just as good at producing ingenious solutions.
Hurricanes are bad. Even worse to face one alone. Make sure you have a team of smart, solution-driven logistics experts by your side to steer your business back from the brink.
Don't wait for the perfect storm to jeopardize your business. Contact us today.