Natural Disasters Wreak Havoc on Supply Chain

The devastation caused by natural disasters has risen at an alarming rate within the last decade. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey floods the Houston region. Irma pummeled Florida through the Caribbean and Mexico had the worst earthquake in two decades.

This year did not fare much better as Hurricane Michael tore through Florida and Hurricane Florence barreled towards the North Carolina coasts with no mercy. Many held their breath to see what would be made of North Carolina’s cotton crops. The hurricane came at a crucial time for the state’s biggest crop.

Hurricane Florence

Mike Todaro, president of the American Apparel Producers Network, sent a note to members right before the hurricane turned to a Category 4 storm. Sourcing Journal Online shared the note which said, “In the coming days, the Carolinas are going to get their butts kicked in the worst historical way. They are your supply chain. But for them, it is now all about their people, their buildings, their homes and heritage that is on the firing line.”

The effect of natural disasters on the supply chain is undeniable. But, it seems that most industries aren’t well equipped to handle them. Part of the reason is the relatively new increase in extreme weather and “generally poor foundational research” according to Forbes. Continued research and sadly continued the experience with them will bring us closer to best procedures and practices to protect the supply chain.

Risk Management Strategies

Sourcing Journal Online supplied some supply chain risk management strategies that provide a foundational support system in case of a natural disaster.   

  • Connect all business partners in a single, integrated cloud-based platform.
  • Enhance visibility of supply chains, including second, third and even fourth-tier suppliers.
  • Collaborate with suppliers in real-time via cloud-based platforms.
  • Improve control of critical operational and quality processes.

Enhance agility to improve responses to adverse changes in external environments

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