man looking surprised at computer with white text on left reading preparing packaging for the unexpected

Preparing Your Packaging for the Unexpected

We all know that hurricanes, blizzards, wildfires, and other natural disasters wreak havoc on the communities they touch. While we can sometimes anticipate their arrival a few days in advance, we occasionally only get a moment’s notice that the time to take shelter or evacuate has come. Once the safety of the people in surrounding areas is confirmed and all is said and done, there’s another side effect of disasters that many fail to consider – our supply chains. No one can predict the exact impact a natural disaster might have, but we do know that they will always bring significant disruptions to daily life. 

dark stormy sky and sea surrounding long pier extending into ocean

After the storm is over, we nearly always see delays in manufacturing, product availability, shipping, labor availability, and beyond. Your packaging supplies are certainly no exception, and can be affected whether you live near the disaster or are all the way across the country. Here are just a few ways that you can prepare your company for an unexpected storm that hits anywhere near or far in your packaging supply chain.

Keep In Touch

If your any of your packaging suppliers fall into the target area of an impending disaster, chances are high that they’ll know long before you do. While you might not call them up once a week to ask what kind of weather they’re expecting, regular communication with your representative means that they can more easily contact you. They can let you know that they’re anticipating delays because of excess rainfall and flooding or they can check in after an unexpected blizzard to tell you when your next order of stretch film or strapping is ready to go. This allows your company to plan as best as possible and be ready for any unexpected delays that may come your way. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll be able to get the supplies you need if you run out during the midst of a storm’s aftermath, but you will be more easily able to pivot to Plan B.

When in Doubt, Stock it Out

While not every company has the luxury of added space, keeping a supply of emergency inventory can always help out. If you have the extra room for it, consider purchasing a few more skids than usual of your most often-used packaging supplies. In the event of a catastrophe near your suppliers’ warehouses, you’ll give yourself some wiggle room and an extra cushion to get you through the delayed lead times while ensuring that your customers still get their orders on time.

Stay Flexible

There’s nothing more important to any team than the ability to pivot. When plans go awry, it’s necessary that both you and your employees are able to take the changes with grace and get to work on the backup plan. This agility means that no matter what the weather throws at your or your suppliers, you’ll be able to hit the ground running. Maybe that means utilizing extra void fill when you can’t get the box sizes you need for a week or ordering a different brand of stretch film for a few days while waiting on the right shipment, but either way, you’ll get your goods to your customers safely and on time.

ips packaging & automation semi trucks backed into loading dock at warehouse

Work with a Packaging Distributor

Trying to find and source all of the different packaging supplies you need can be difficult even on the best of days. Doing so after a natural disaster delays your usual supply chain is an even bigger headache. That’s where a packaging distributor can assist. 

Distributors have a huge database of trusted manufacturers that they work with every single day, meaning that they can find mailers, foam sheets, corrugated boxes, and more all from a wide range of different suppliers. Better yet, they already have positive relationships with these manufacturers and are able to secure outstanding prices from them that even your company may not be able to access.

Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst

At the end of the day, there’s not a lot we can do to stop an impending natural disaster. Thankfully, there are many steps we can take to prepare ourselves and our businesses. Before taking any other precautions, make sure your team knows the proper safety protocols in the event that a disaster strikes near your facilities. Ensuring the wellbeing of everyone around you is always the top priority. Once those plans have been set in place, then it’s time to create your game plan to maintain the levels of packaging supplies you need. For assistance with this, give IPS Packaging & Automation a call today at (800) 277-7007.