Winter Weather Preparedness for Supply Chain Resilience

  • 04 June 2024
  • 6 Min Read

Picture this, a temperature-sensitive medicine, whose configuration alters even with the slightest difference in temperature, needs temperature-controlled shipping to maintain its potency and efficacy. Cold Chain Management is both interesting and too complex as it has to strategically combat winter weather disruptions while maintaining the prescribed quality standards of the consumables and perishable items. During the winter season, cold weather logistics require stringent policies to safeguard the journey of critical items from the point of origin to the final destination.

Winter in the US is hurricanes, storms, road blockage, and stalled air cargo due to unfavorable weather conditions. All these slow down and delay the delivery of cargo. For navigating the challenges of the season in the right direction, preparedness for winter weather supply chain disruptions is a must, as it is peak demand season due to holidays and festivals. It is also the time when eCommerce retailers can improve their market presence by on-time order fulfillment, and by guaranteeing quality at the most cost-effective rates.

Technology and innovations have helped companies embark on a special journey for cold chain management. Most are following a data-driven approach to garner a better understanding and to have control over various operations of the supply chain. The voluminous data generated at different junctions and by numerous stakeholders undergo analytical processing to obtain crystalized functional information for better control over winter weather supply chain disruptions. Many eCommerce retailers use AI-powered technology which acts as a force multiplier in reorganizing, structuring, and fathoming out real information from the unprocessed data pouring from multiple channels of the supply chain, that could be used for developing supply chain resilience strategies.

Supply Chain Resilience Strategies for Winter Season

Even before winter knocks, companies start building their contingency plans for effective logistics winterization. Measures for obtaining seamless and continuous real-time updates on weather and logistics are encrypted for end-to-end exchange of crisis communication. Real-time visibility into the situation, allows management to guide stakeholders and the team in dispersing crisis without much dent into the reputation or the system. For undeterred supply chain resilience during the winter season, management uses technology for winter storm response planning and uninterrupted cold chain.

  • Alternate Suppliers: This is probably the first step towards winter contingency planning. To keep the flow of raw materials un-affected, companies partner with many suppliers to ensure supplies remain smooth.
  • Monitoring of Weather: To control weather conditions is definitely not possible but with automation and AI technology, real-time weather inputs can be obtained and cargo movement can be planned accordingly. Also, customers can be alerted about the same by sharing information which builds trust in retailers.
  • Freight Management: Certain goods are sensitive to sudden changes in temperature. Any drop or rise in temperature can have an adverse impact on their quality. To protect their sensitivity, emergency cold weather protocols can be prepared and shared with trailers. Retailers can pact with carriers who understand and have provision for thermal packaging solutions necessary for protecting from extreme weather conditions or for maintaining a particular temperature for safe transportation.
  • Shift Management: Automation can be utilized for controlling and assigning the workforce for maximum output by managing their shifts. To meet demands, new shifts can be added.
  • Uninterrupted and Smooth Flow of Communication: For supply chain resilience, it is of paramount importance that operations of the cold chain are integrated and there is a continuous exchange of data from one end to the other. This helps in timely intervention and handling of disruptions. Leveraging technology for a better flow of communication between the departments and stakeholders also helps in informing customers about any anticipated delays in order fulfillment.

5 Ways Automated System Can Maintain Operations During Adverse Weather Conditions

AI-powered technology has been a major breakthrough in cold chain management. An automated system helps in monitoring and transmitting data in real-time, this allows timely risk mitigation especially when there is a delay in transportation. Some incredible achievements of technology in supply chain management during the winter peak season are—

  • Warehousing: Anticipating and stocking up inventories at the right place. Automation helps in locating inventories closest to the point of order generation. Also, an AI-powered system alerts management about the temperature requirements of particular products and protects them from any kind of damage. Retailers of perishable products, paints, and pharmaceuticals need temperature-controlled warehousing facilities. With automation, this is easy to achieve and maintain.
  • Inventory Optimization: With automation, inventory management can be outsourced to those who follow frostbite prevention measures. This protects items that can get damaged in severe cold conditions, these 3PLs have installed systems that can control temperature. This brings down costs and ensures the safety and integrity of the products.
  • Shipping & Transportation: eCommerce businesses run on shipping and transportation till the last mile connectivity. During the winter season, to beat snow, road blockades, and torrential rains, retailers require a robust cold-weather fleet maintenance team. Professionals connected with real-time intelligence reports on weather conditions and how to safeguard the cargo in transit. All this becomes easy with an automation of logistics through bars and scanners.
  • Intelligent Packaging: Augmented Reality and Machine Learning are tuned to read, understand, and package goods in the right way. They are quite helpful with cold-resistant packaging when it comes to handling sensitive items during winter months.
  • Third-Party Logistics: To remain undisturbed by weather conditions, companies partner with logistics companies, equipped in frozen goods transportation. 3PLs are experts and are equipped with technology to monitor fluctuations when required.

All these ensure there are no delays or disruptions in the supply chain management and order fulfillment happens on time.

Advatix Cloudsuite™ Equips Retailers with a Resilient Supply Chain for Winter Months

Advatix Cloudsuite™ is a cloud-based solution provider that can automate the entire supply chain management. Our solutions encrypt the complete cold chain management operation for a seamless flow of information on weather conditions and how to handle schedules of cargo in transit.

If you need a system that integrates and prepares your supply chain for peak winter demands…