Hurricane Florence, Disaster Recovery Logistics Planning and TMS Solutions

TMS solutions and associated logistics IT tools are a critical part of any successful volume shipper’s supply chain risk management plan.  Hurricane Florence is presently testing the mettle of the logistics management technologies used by shippers at the epicenter of natural disaster recovery – food/beverage shippers, building materials shippers, energy shippers and others.

Hurricane Florence is parked over the Carolinas as we write this. Millions have fled and transportation across all modes is ground to a halt.  Yet, volume shippers of food, water, medical supplies, gasoline, concrete, lumber, medical supplies and household goods suddenly have two or three days to plan for massive unplanned shipment of their products into an area hundreds of square miles wide.  Complicating matters, regular shipping lanes and associated calculations will be radically altered with extensive infrastructure damage to roads, bridges and railways. Those without flexible, scalable and effective TMS solutions in place are in for an unpleasant stretch mirroring that of those directly affected by the destruction.

So, just how will disaster recovery-related shippers with strong systems in place be able to more effectively deal with the radical disruption to their operations and supply chain planning?  Here’s how some of the unique challenges posed by disaster recovery logistics planning is effectively addressed by a strong TMS solution.

Disaster Recovery Challenge: Access to Capacity for Unplanned Peak Volume

A deeply constrained capacity environment exists even before the hurricane. Between the additional equipment lost to floodwaters and the sudden need to ship at much higher than average volumes into affected areas, food shippers, materials shipper s and others will all be seeking capacity just as the upended pattern of supply and demand works against them.

TMS Solution: Competitive Bidding Environment for Spot Market Quoting in TMS

There will be no avoiding the premium pricing of the spot market as delivery of this freight is crucial to saving lives.  Yet, that doesn’t mean shippers must pay more than they absolutely have to.  A strong TMS solution provides spot quote automation delivering tenders to an easily expanded group of carriers and capturing competitive bids on exigent shipments.  This allows the shipper to keep costs on the spot market to a minimum, ensuring the accepted spot bids are the lowest available at the moment.

Disaster Recovery Challenge: Significant Changes to Typical Routes and Lane Volume

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, in those crucial first 24-36 hours when the need for supplies is at its most acute, shippers will be dealing with routing challenges and shipment detours as key arteries are blocked or restricted.  This is when strong shipment tracking capabilities are essential.

TMS Solution: Superior Real-Time Shipment Tracking

TMS solutions augmented with real time shipment tracking like FourKites and similar solutions will be able not only to see where their freight is minute-to-minute as it moves to avoid closed roadways, but they’ll also be able to provide more accurate ETAs for deliveries of relief items to communities deeply in need.  Real time temp controlled shipment monitoring ensures perishable product like food and medicine arrives wholesome and untainted to afflicted communities.

For volume shippers not equipped with the most flexible, contemporary TMS solutions, the pain about to be inflicted will definitely be amplified.  After the initial crush of the recovery has subsided, there is no time to waste in pursuing a top performing solution which has never been easier to deploy or more certain to deliver rapid ROI and ongoing cost savings.