How Logistics Companies Can Ensure Safe Deliveries During Weather Disasters

On a good weather day, making deliveries is a dangerous job. In fact, delivery and truck drivers are ranked sixth on the 2023 list of most dangerous jobs in the US. A 2021 study reveals that one in five Amazon delivery drivers suffered injuries that year, with slips, trips, and falls being the most frequent causes of injuries.

On a bad weather day, making deliveries becomes even more dangerous, but delaying or suspending deliveries due to deteriorating weather conditions is something many customers are not willing to accept. As a result, logistics companies are forced to find a balance between reliability and safety when it comes to delivering in bad weather.

The following steps play a key role in establishing that balance.

Emergency preparedness

Many people are familiar with the quote from Benjamin Franklin that states, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” It is a great warning for logistics companies that want to avoid failing in the face of weather disasters, as the first step in addressing bad weather conditions is preparation.

Preparing for an emergency involves thinking through all of the factors that will come into play when it strikes, and understanding how they will impact your normal operations. For example, power failures can be common during bad weather, so to continue operations, a logistics company must have a backup source of power.

Communication interruptions can also easily come into play during bad weather, as internet outages can affect communication with drivers and other members of the logistics team. Emergency plans should define how teams will pivot if the normal communications channels go down.

Bad weather may also prevent staff from showing up for shifts, so emergency plans should consider how to meet operational goals with a smaller team. The operations that may need to be suspended in weather disasters should be determined during the planning phase.

Considering alternative delivery routes and methods is another element of emergency preparedness. For example, if bad weather clogs roads, delivery may need to be switched to rail or air delivery.

Real-time monitoring

Thanks to today’s technology, logistics companies never need to be surprised by bad weather. Real-time weather monitoring allows for the tracking of storms and other inclement weather conditions in a way that allows plenty of advance notice. To be prepared, companies should make sure monitoring weather is a part of regular operations.

Once weather strikes, real-time monitoring allows companies to fully understand the impact it has on their delivery efforts. For example, rain events can cause road flooding that makes certain routes impassable. With snow storms, companies can track work being done to clear highways and free up travel routes.

Any type of bad weather can result in dangerous road conditions that slow down delivery times. Real-time monitoring of delivery progress is essential during bad weather, giving logistics companies the insights they need to keep customers up-to-date on delivery times. If weather monitoring indicates conditions may deteriorate in the days or hours to come, companies can send out advance warnings to regular customers about the potential for weather-related delivery delays.

Flexibility in routing

Dynamic route planning becomes especially important during bad weather. Route optimization tools leverage real-time weather and traffic monitoring to anticipate the worst weather problems and route deliveries around them.

To take advantage of route optimization, companies must be flexible, which may involve pivoting to multi-stop route planning to take advantage of vehicles already on the road in areas where pickups have been requested. Companies that integrate AI-driven tools in route planning will be best equipped to optimize routing during bad weather.

Being flexible with delivery vehicle options is also important during bad weather. While smaller vehicles reduce fuel costs, they may not be the best option when road conditions are bad, so shifting to larger vehicles can help to get deliveries through when weather results in flooding or heavy snow.

Inventory management

Adjusting inventory management in anticipation of weather disasters can help to prevent delivery interruptions. Accumulating buffer stock prior to bad weather can help companies who rely on deliveries from suppliers to serve their clients. Companies with systems that provide real-time tracking of inventory will be better positioned to identify and secure the right buffer stock.

Strategic pre-positioning of stock in anticipation of weather emergencies is another step that can help ensure safe deliveries, allowing companies to get supplies to areas where they will be most needed in the event of an emergency. It can also allow for safer routing of delivery vehicles by completing the most dangerous elements of delivery routes prior to bad weather.

Weather disasters create a unique challenge for logistics companies. In many cases, bad weather creates emergency conditions that leave people needing critical supplies. The service logistics companies are called upon to provide at those times is essential and, in some cases, life-saving. By monitoring, preparing, and staying flexible, logistics companies can ensure they are delivering with the highest degree of safety and reliability.

Learn how Senpex Technology can help with your deliveries at the highest degree of safety and reliability.

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About Author

Anar Mammadov, CEO of Senpex Technology, is a software development professional with more than 15 years of experience in enterprise solutions and mobile app development. He has applied his practical and results-oriented approach to business to create Senpex Technology, a personalized logistics and delivery service that utilizes groundbreaking artificial intelligence to optimize routes and to provide the fastest, most efficient, last-mile delivery resource for businesses. Senpex can be utilized 24/7, with no interruptions to your delivery needs.