Humans have no control over Mother Nature. If she wants it to rain, it’s going to rain. If she wants it to snow, it’s going to snow. The environment has a huge impact the warehousing industry, more so than most people realize. In this discussion, we will explore some of the ways nature influences distribution centers across America.
Perhaps the most obvious impact the environment has the logistics industry is in the shipping sector. Delivery trucks have a hard time completing their shipments in a timely manner if the roads are frozen or completely rained out. Shippers try to plan for these delays in advance by monitoring the weather and reporting potential hazards as they arise. Nevertheless, there is always a risk that something unpredictable will happen.
Thankfully, real-time inventory management solutions allow warehouses, shippers, retailers and distribution centers to stay in communication with one another. If there is a shipping delay due to the weather, the warehouse will be updated about it right away. A retailer can then pass the information along to a customer in an efficient stream of communication.
Reduced Productivity Levels
Warehouses in hot or cold climates may experience reduced productivity levels when the weather turns extreme. Most warehouses have central heat and air to keep the buildings at a pleasant temperature, but that is hard to control when doors are constantly opening and shutting. Employees that have to go in and out constantly are particularly vulnerable to temperature changes, to the point that they can get sick with prolonged exposure.
In order to correct this issue, warehouses must work to regulate their interior temperatures as much as possible. They must also ensure that employees get the appropriate amount of breaks during their shifts to prevent them from getting sick or fatigued. In some cases, the ideal setup is to rotate employees so that one person is not in the same environment for too long.
In extreme situations, a bad storm can cause a power outage for part of all of the warehouse. A good warehouse will have sufficient backup generators to keep the supply chain moving, but even that can’t last forever. If there is a power outage throughout the town, county, or state, there isn’t a lot that the warehouse can do at the moment. At that point, the main focus is to notify clients about the issue and work ways to restore the power as quickly as possible.
Cold temperatures aren’t the only sources of mayhem. Extreme dryness combined with heat can create fire hazards in certain parts of the country. Good warehouses have fire prevention protocols to keep these issues from happening, but these measures may have to be heightened in a high-risk area. As long as the right steps are taken before a fire or in the event of a fire, employees and products alike will be well protected from the flames.