Diego Pantoja Navajas, VP WMS Development
It's winter in the northern hemisphere, and it's freezing throughout most of the continental United States. I'm always struck by how weather patterns not only affect our lives but how they also disrupt supply chains and global trade.
Usually, it's an El Niño weather system causing turmoil in places around the world – either by strengthening hurricanes and storms in the Atlantic or by generating floods and droughts in other places around the world.
But it turns out this year is all about La Niña – an equally problematic, though lesser known weather system just as powerful and disruptive to supply chains.
If you’re the sort of person who pays attention to weather news then you have probably heard or read about some of the problems caused by this weather system.
La Niña impacts the weather when a vast area of the equatorial Pacific cools down and disrupts weather systems. This disruption can be responsible for events as disparate seeming as deep freezes in the UK, record snowfalls in the US, drought in the Amazon, and floods in Pakistan.
However, just as with El Niño, what enough people — especially supply chain professionals — are not thinking about is how these weather changes — how any weather change – impacts agriculture, mining production, operations and transportation.
Massive weather disruptions constitute a potential logistical nightmare. When La Niña threatens the ability to source material, manage operations and inventory, or transport it, it becomes a supply chain problem.
So what are the right ways to prepare a WMS for weather-related events? Is your supply chain software resilient enough to withstand chaotic pressures?
Whatever supply chain companies can do to meet consumer demand is priority number one. By building a resilient network, supply chain companies can ensure that no matter the circumstance, they can be back up and running as quickly as they want.
The Three Legs of a Resilient Supply Chain
In order to meet the challenges posed by a weather phenomenon like La Niña, fulfillment solutions need to be able to withstand or recover quickly from any sudden shifts or changes in the weather or the market. Supply chain solutions need to be flexible enough to change and powerful enough to help organizations stay online, manage inventory and respond to change. The three qualities a fulfillment solution should have when dealing with sudden changes in the weather or loss of access to materials, include:
With a single sign on you can access your facilities seamlessly and you will have visibility and traceability into your inventory at all times. You can drill down customer by customer all the way to the store shelf to understand inventory levels, including reverse logistics from the store back to the warehouse.
The point is, weather is an unpredictable phenomenon and the one thing business doesn’t respond well to is unpredictability. Mitigate unpredictability in the weather with predictability and total control of your inventory.
La Niñas come and go, but that doesn’t mean you have to worry about them, not when you're running as resilient a supply chain as is made possible by cloud solutions.