6 Helpful Tips to Keep Your Supply Chain Intact During Natural Disasters

25 Aug, 2011 by  Randy Jackson

From a business standpoint, you know that some challenges are to be expected while others may appear with little or no warning. Unfortunately, these unexpected challenges are happening all too frequently lately. Whether it’s an earthquake, hurricane, volcanic eruption, or civil unrest, like the riots that recently devastated London, it is hard to plan for every global event. 

During these difficult times, many companies or their supply chain systems come to a grinding halt because they are unprepared and unable to adjust. So, it’s important that your company has a contingency plan for unforeseen events. 

You also need a shipping company that can create contingency plans and alternative solutions on the go. One that has specially trained disaster recovery teams responsible for evaluating situations and implementing appropriate programs of disaster preparedness, mitigation, and management. 

To ensure your shipments are delivered safely and securely—even in the most difficult situations—we have developed a flexible, extensive network, with many delivery options. Whether its AOG aircraft parts, clinical specimens, life-saving medical organs and blood, or parts to keep your supply chain intact, our team can create comprehensive logistics solutions and back up plans in order for you to meet your deadlines. 

Contingency Plans at Work 

When a volcanic ash cloud disrupted many flights and delayed countless numbers of packages, we successfully delivered 22 frozen samples of human tissue, blood, and other biologics from the country of Georgia headed for the U.K. We had to stop the shipments in Turkey, re-ice the frozen ones and re-issue documents to fly it to a lab in the U.S, salvaging millions of dollars worth of clinical research. 

In 2010, as relief efforts streamed into Haiti following a destructive 7.0 earthquake, the traffic at the Port au Price airport intensified. There were limited landing slots and the requests for clearance were backlogged up to 5-6 days. This obviously was not ideal when delivering shipments for survivors who are in critical need of medical help. It took us just 12 hours to successfully deliver much needed blood and breast milk to the survivors in Haiti, by utilizing charter aircraft, helicopters and ground delivery services.

Here is some tips on how you can prepare for the unexpected: 

1) Find a courier company you can trust, and that can provide alternate modes of transportation to help streamline your supply chain. And, make sure you’re working with companies recognized by the local government. 
2) Pay attention to changes in the weather. Stay current on all international weather issues that might affect shipments. 
3) Be Flexible. Plan for delays, and be creative.
4) Consider chartering a flight. When shipping to sensitive areas it is sometimes impossible to use commercial flights. A charter service may be your only alternative. 
5) Keep in touch. Make sure you keep all involved parties up-to-date on any issues or problems that may arise. 
6) Be prepared and have a contingency plan of your own. Your company should be equipped and prepared with a contingency plan of its own. That way, in an emergency situation you and your Courier provider can work together to ensure you get what you need in the most cost effective and timely manner.

About Randy Jackson
Senior VP Quality Assurance, New York, NY

Randy Jackson has over 30 years of experience in operations, finance, special projects, set up of new product lines, and logistics coordination for these areas.

As Senior Vice President of Quality Assurance, Randy... Read more.

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