Supply Chain Expertise and Technology Blog by TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson

How to Manage for Supply Chain Success During Major Weather Events


Delhaize America Shares Best Practices that Achieved Goals During Record-Breaking Storm

This January, the U.S. Northeast was pummeled by the fourth most powerful snowstorm to hit the area in at least 60 years, reported the Associated Press [1]. From Friday, January 22, through Sunday, January 24, Winter Storm Jonas dumped 20 to 30 inches of snow on a multi-state strike zone.

Storms of this magnitude can wreak havoc on supply chains, but our teams from Delhaize America, TMC, and West Coast Distributing were able to plan, monitor, and adjust our logistics operations to ensure we could meet the pre-storm product levels planned by each store and minimize out of stocks both during and after the blizzard.

For perspective, Delhaize America operates more than 1,100 Food Lion supermarkets in the U.S. Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, and nearly 190 stores under the Hannaford banner in the Northeast. Our operational footprint impacted by the storm encompassed five distribution centers (DCs) and hundreds of vendors.

Here are the steps we took to maintain supply chain resiliency in the face of a record-breaking storm and the positive results that were achieved:

1. Began four days prior to the forecasted storm.
2. Brought a cross-functional team to the table.

  • Our team included logistics, demand management, category management, and distribution from Delhaize, as well as West Coast Distributing and TMC’s Managed TMS® service.

3. Reviewed the purchase orders associated with every load that was due to be picked up or delivered within the storm impact zone.

  • Together, we ascertained the potential impact and worked with vendors and carriers to ship and deliver as many loads as possible before Jonas descended.

4. Stepped up monitoring activities.

  • We had a regular cadence of calls to check on vendor/carrier closures, shipment statuses, and current DC and retail impact.
  • Our risk management plans were adjusted in line with changing conditions on the ground, and the check calls continued throughout the storm.

During Weather Event
1. Deployed a combination of logistics options.

  • We leveraged our internal private fleet and our relationships with TMC and West Coast Distributing to manage inbound shipments from vendors to DCs, as well as retail moves from the DCs.
  • Maximizing capacity in this way enabled our managers to keep service levels as high as possible.

2. Promoted sense of urgency on behalf of each team member.

  • Our dedicated team put in the work and hours needed to reach our goal of keeping our stores selling and customer satisfaction high.

Through all of the above, we succeeded in mitigating storm-related risks across the Delhaize supply chain and achieved high sales performance levels as the crisis unfolded. Additionally, we continued to see benefits in the storm’s aftermath as we were able to have a swift and efficient recovery thanks to the logistics teams’ urgent actions to manage increases in both the volume and variability of shipments.

Throughout this process, the real time visibility, reporting solutions, and high level of automation provided by the Navisphere® platform enabled us to mitigate our risk by streamlining communication with carriers and vendors, providing them with effective, efficient and accurate information related to the highly variable and dynamic environment caused by the storm.

Now that there’s been time to fully reflect on the impact of the storm, what steps or best practices have you taken to manage your supply chain during severe weather? How do you leverage providers and technology to drive success?

[1] Winter Storm Jonas ranks 4th worst among Northeast snowstorms, Associated Press, January 28, 2016.