4 Inclement Winter Weather Threats for Manufacturers
‘Tis the season for snow, ice, whiteouts, sub-zero temperatures, and a host of other inclement weather conditions. Expect delays and setbacks! It’s not just about anticipating supply chain disruptions; it’s also about planning proactively for disruptions to your operations. Sick days, snow days, delays, and much more should be the focus of your winter maintenance schedule. Plan for them now, so they don’t set you back later.
Biggest winter threats for manufacturers
Preparing for the din of winter and its tendency to disrupt your manufacturing operations means knowing what you’re up against. Here’s a look at the 4 biggest threats you’ll face this winter, courtesy of Mother Nature:
- Staffing. Winter conditions make it hard for people to get to work. All it takes is a few inches of snow to turn the roads into a demolition derby, and whiteout conditions are enough to deter people from even considering getting behind the wheel. Or, if it’s cold enough, drivers may not have a choice — subzero temperatures can stall a car outright. It’s hard to keep the factory running if a third of the shift can’t make it in!
- Receiving. Even if you’ve avoided inclement weather, your suppliers may not be so lucky. Winter weather can leave you waiting on shipments and deliveries that aren’t coming at their regularly scheduled times. Without vital inbound shipments, operations hit a standstill. You might blow through your parts and supplies inventory in just a couple of days if there’s a stretch of bad weather.
- Shipping. If your area gets hit by bad storms, you may have trouble getting product out. Best-case scenario, it takes you a few hours to dig out your loading docks. Worst case? Freezing rain, high winds, and heavy snow throttle your outbound cargo capabilities, leaving you behind on fulfillment and up against the wall in terms of finding logistical alternatives.
- Facilities. Mother Nature is a one-woman wrecking crew. She’s known to take out power lines and kill off backup generators. More than that, you’ll have to contend with biting temperatures that make exterior installations brittle, or heavy snow and high winds that put infrastructure at risk. There’s a high likelihood you’ll need to unexpectedly repair your facilities at some point this winter.
Prepare your factory for winter threats
Manufacturers are up against a lot as the end of the year deadline approaches. Don’t forget about the threat of inclement weather. Start by creating inclement weather protocols and procedures — standards for dealing with things like worker shortages and facility maintenance. Be smart about contingency planning and do your best to account for what you can, like expediting shipments ahead of inclement weather. Most importantly, have an action plan for when severe weather hits and be flexible about scaling operations within that plan.
You can’t stop the wind, ice, and snow, but you can plan for them. Put your factory in a position to adapt to winter weather obstacles, rather than fall victim to them. Recognizing the chief threats winter weather poses is a start. Planning for how to handle them if they arise is a proactive step in saving costs and minimizing chaos.