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Mary HeiserDirector, Industry & Product Marketing, FourKites

When shipping millions of dollars in cargo halfway around the world, a myriad of things can go wrong. While supply chain professionals do everything in their power to mitigate risk, many factors remain outside their control. Among the unpreventable are natural disasters — and it seems they’re only getting worse.

According to NASA, global climate models predict that future hurricanes will cause more intense rainfall and increase coastal flood risk due to higher storm surges caused by rising seas. And even when the number of storms is below the annual average, the hurricanes that do form are more likely to become intense.

Unfortunately, the 2024 North American hurricane season looks like it might be a rough one, with NOAA predicting above-normal activity.

As extreme weather events and other disruptions continue to wreak havoc across supply chains, logistics managers can leverage a real-time visibility platform to keep operations running. Here’s how:

Tip 1: Proactively Communicate

Supply chains are built on good communication. The wrong information at the wrong time can have major implications on your ability to ensure goods get to where they’re going in a timely fashion. This is never more true than when an emergency disrupts the daily rhythms of routine operations.

When disruptions emerge, we recommend that users double down on the many built-in communications capabilities within the FourKites platform. To cite just a few examples, our shared shipment status eURLs and secure messaging features give customers the ability to coordinate with key stakeholders about the status of a load or quickly communicate unexpected delays. Additionally, all customers can include themselves as a watcher on an emergency load so that they can receive communications for all milestone events occurring for said load.

Moreover, FourKites’ Share Shipment Status feature is designed to allow users to securely communicate individual load information to their customers via a secure, encrypted link. Users can now customize these alerts to control what data is shared with internal stakeholders and end customers.

Tip 2: Monitor Disruptions & Their Potential Impact

Even the best communication is limited, however, if you don’t know where problems are occurring in the first place. That’s why FourKites also offers an array of options designed to help customers identify the areas where supply chain disruptions due to extreme weather patterns are likely to occur.

  • Fin AI can check all of your shipments against current and forecasted global disruptions so you can quickly understand what will be impacted.
  • The Custom Zones feature allows you to draw temporary borders around a storm’s projected track to monitor the cities and lanes in its path. You can then set up automated alerts to notify affected parties immediately as a load passes through those areas.
  • The Executive Dashboard tracks loads that may be affected by extreme weather and other road hazards in real time, presenting them all in a single snapshot for your reference.

When a disruption struck before Fin AI, our team of experts would gather limited data from multiple systems, then make an informed guess. Now, we rapidly get clear data and facts, in a single platform, and we make a decision.”

— Johnny Ivanyi, Global Head of Logistics Excellence, Bayer

Tip 3: Triage Effectively

When disruptions strike, minutes matter. It’s not enough to simply track what’s happening — instead, take the appropriate steps to empower your teams to act. Reduce or eliminate the need for those on the front lines to chase down data, track multiple emails, or any other manual processes that stand in the way of minimizing the impact of an uncontrollable event.

  • FourKites’ Recommendation Engine uses a combination of historical data—such as average dwell at the origin facility—and real-time transit conditions—such as traffic and weather—to make proactive recommendations in real time to mitigate potential problems before they occur.
  • Individual loads can be marked with “Hot” priority status, allowing internal transportation management teams to seize the opportunity to keep track of their most critical or at-risk loads. This can be done both directly within the FourKites user interface or using API commands.
  • Loads can also be tagged in the FourKites platform to simplify the process of finding high-priority shipments or those that face a higher degree of risk. Tags are extremely flexible and can be customized within FourKites to represent any situation, product or SKU, and they can also be filtered for and analyzed over time to better inform your disaster preparations in the future.
  • You can also use the weather filters on our Global Map View for a real-time visualization of how weather conditions may impact your active shipments.

If the past few years taught us anything, it’s that our supply chains must be armed and ready for any crisis at any time. FourKites partners with our customers to give them the tools to maximize their agility and resilience in the face of the unexpected. Contact us to learn more about the value our solutions can bring to your business.

For existing customers, connect with your Customer Success Manager to discuss how to implement these solutions, and we invite you to submit any additional crisis management ideas to the FourKites Community.

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