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Is Your Supply Chain Ready for Natural Disasters?

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and Irma, businesses painfully realize natural disasters create a substantial external challenge for supply chains. In fact, DHL has estimated the annual global economic impact of natural disasters could be as high as $335 billion by 2030.

So, if natural disasters are inevitable, how can supply chains manage all of the risks associated with natural disasters? With this three-pronged system used by third-party logistics companies (3PLs), you can lessen your company’s impact when tragedy strikes and focus on what’s important, working with your community to help those displaced and in danger.


The supply chain is the heart of any business. Without it, operations suffer, sales drop, and the company falls into a precarious place. Companies should assess the impact a natural disaster could have on their business. Then, they should put together a contingency plan. After getting a plan in place, companies should insist their suppliers are as prepared or more prepared then they are.


Supply chain risk management is most successful when companies receive the earliest possible notice of natural disasters like severe floods or hurricanes. By analyzing past data, businesses can get a better picture of the risk they may face and what they can do to mitigate potential disruption in their supply chain.

It’s important that not only is data centralized across the business, but also that communication across divisions is open and collaborative. Companies should also run simulations of potential solutions to gain additional data for scenario planning. Only when you identify the real pressure points will the best solution become obvious.

Put a Process in Place

Now that you have assessed the potential damage, crunched the data, and tested some possible solutions, put a process in place. Create your natural disasters plan, educate your entire company, and be sure your employees are ready to react quickly and carefully during a crisis.

If you don’t have the time, labor, and data to put your natural disaster plan in place, consider a partnering with a 3PL. Because they have a wealth of in-the-trenches experience by working with numerous clients all over the world, these 3PLs can pair you with similar businesses and protect your supply chain with tested best practices. With a strong supply chain during a natural disaster, companies can often find opportunities to move around the turmoil while their competitors are forced to wait it out.

Working with a 3PL, you can have peace of mind that your business is in the best, most experienced hands when other things are out of your control. It’s the best way to safeguard your business when disaster strikes.

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