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Holiday and winter weather challenges

Congested roadways are one of the surest signs that Santa Claus is coming to town. The sheer volume of holiday shopping can cause heavy traffic at malls and retail districts even in dry weather. Add freezing rain and snow, and you have yourself a headache, especially if you’re in the transportation business.

Holiday and winter seasonal challenges for transportation industry leaders include:

  • Congested roadways: The remedy is the gift of GPS. Most new Google Maps applications and other software will save you from hours in traffic by flagging heavy traffic and suggesting alternative routes. Of course, most professional drivers have become very savvy in “scouting” out their travel plans ahead of time, especially in the weeks between Thanksgiving Weekend and New Year;
  • Bad weather: Snow, freezing rain, black ice. If you live north of the Mason-Dixon line, you tend to be old pros when it comes to the ravages of winter. Most trucking companies cross into serious winter weather no matter where they are headquartered. All the safety precautions apply here – including knowing when to stay off the road. Equipping your drivers with the latest apps and weather media channels – including The Weather Channel and Weather Underground – is a smart play. Being conversant in bad weather is also essential to Freight Brokers, Forwarders and Shippers. That’s why truck insurance providers have become good resources for weather advisories;
  • Closures or Limited operations: Storms and power outages during the holiday and winter seasons can close locations along the supply chain and cause havoc across the board. It’s another example of information being power. Having the heads up on closed operations or limited access to pick-up or deliver is critical;
  • Employee sicknesses: They call it the cold and flu season for a reason. Winter illnesses can throw a monkey wrench into your operations when you can least afford drivers and others to be home sick. The recent example of the New England Patriots of the NFL separating their sick players from those not showing signs of illness (using two different airplanes to fly to Houston) is an interesting case study for Freight Brokers, Motor Carriers and other logistics professionals. Employees will get sick. It happens. The key is containing the damage by having the kind of contingency plans in place to ensure that you don’t have to bring in those who really should not be working;
  • Stress: The holiday season is a special time of year. Yet it can also be stressful for many people. Anticipating stress and the behaviors that are caused by it can help you and your team get through the holiday season in one piece. Ensuring that your best people have breaks, encouraging exercise and other ways to de-stress is not something that is easily done. But considering what you can do to mitigate against stress in your workplace – especially at this time of year – is smart business.

Like many things in the business of business – in the transportation sector and elsewhere – being prepared for any eventuality is a huge step in the right direction, during the holiday and winter weather seasons and year-round.

Team PFA