December 12, 2014

Cold Weather Supply Chain Risks

Charlotte Hicks

snow-truck-stuckWatching the news recently, I heard the weatherman say that the first major blizzard of the season dumped a year’s worth of snow on the Buffalo area alone. Then, the Thanksgiving nor’easter brought a sloppy mess of rain and snow to several parts of the U.S.

Images of the supply chain disruptions from last February and March popped to mind. During that "Snowmageddon," icy roads and damaged railways caused transportation delays, and we saw shortages for some materials that double as deicers.

Regardless of where it happens, bad weather tests the agility and resiliency of even the best supply chains.  However, companies that manage weather-related disruptions as part of their event-monitoring best practices and supply chain risk management strategies tend to fare better than those that don’t take preventative measures, Resilinc’s work with customers shows.

Using Supply Chain Visibility to Fight the Winter Blues

As winter approaches in the northern hemisphere, companies should consider the unique supply chain risks that often crop up during this part of the year and take steps now to avoid or lessen the threat of a potential disruption.  

Anticipating transportation delays and mapping suppliers that could be affected by big storms are good first steps.

Resilinc has also compiled a list of common raw materials that could be impacted during the coming winter months. Increasing visibility and tracking these products may help companies side-step possible problems as well. While we don’t know if these commodities will be as severely impacted as last year, we recommend that companies closely monitor their supply chains and watch back orders or delays of these products:

Cold-sensitive materials, which could pose transportation risks:

  • Acetic acid
  • Photoresists
  • Slurries
  • WFI water and water based solutions

Winter deicers and antifreeze products that may cause supply and demand risks:

  • Calcium chloride
  • Ethanol
  • Ethylene glycol
  • Glycerol
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Magnesium chloride
  • Methanol
  • Potassium chloride
  • Propylene glycol
  • Sodium chloride
  • Urea

Since we can’t control the weather, the next best thing we can do is to prepare for it.

To learn more about supply chain resiliency solutions, click here.

Topics: supply chain visibility, supply chain disruptions