Up and down the East Coast last week, businesses were busy preparing for the arrival of winter storm Jonas. Readying shovels and plows, we all watched the weather forecasts closely and prepared to do some digging.
It’s a familiar feeling here at Capacity. Around the same time last year, we had to handle Octavia, followed by the ominously-named (and eventually underwhelming) Thor.
Another storm has swept through the southern states and is currently impacting the East coast. Much as Octavia did two weeks ago, Thor came in the night and left commuters and delivery companies alike to deal with its mess.
Reaching for the shovels again, we’ve marched outside to look Thor square in the eye (of the storm) and tell him in no uncertain terms, “we’re open!”
The snow has forced many companies to call off operations for the day, however, as winter advisory warnings go up around the Northeast and New Jersey has declared a state of emergency. Capacity is up and running despite this latest dump of the white stuff, while carriers are shutting down in some areas, struggling to stay on top of the deluge.
UPS issued the following bulletin to make customers aware that scheduled deliveries will be disrupted:
Severe weather in Louisville, KY caused a significant disruption to operations at Worldport®, UPS’s main hub in the United States. As a result, some shipments may experience unavoidable delays.
UPS is working to move shipments to their final destinations as quickly as possible.
One bright spot of this particular storm is that some believe it’s the last one for this winter. Whether or not you believe the weather men and women, two things are for sure: the clocks go forward for spring this weekend and the seasons officially change in two weeks time.
We’re no softies when it comes to snow, but everyone will be cracking a smile as the sun starts to shine again and temperatures rise to melt all this white stuff. Until then, keep on truckin’!
As a result of ongoing severe weather conditions, both FedEx and UPS have warned customers to expect delivery delays today. Winter storm Octavia passed through the southern states overnight with less overt warning than previous weather events, delivering around one foot of snow and severe icy conditions, the like of which the region has not seen for some twenty years.
Anyone who reads our blog regularly will know that we had cause to pull out the shovels on several occasions last year, and it looks like the nation is getting an unwanted share of this experience. From the East coast blizzard in late January, to Octavia’s less hyped but no less disruptive impact this week, most areas of the U.S. have been forced to figure out what to do when winter steps in on their supply chain.
For the country’s two major delivery services, the impact was immediate and widespread.
FedEx reported that it experienced “substantial sort disruptions” at its Memphis, TN hub overnight, resulting in uncertainty over whether delivery commitments for the day will make their deadlines.
UPS made a similar announcement regarding its main service center in Louisville, KY. The statement goes on to tell customers that they are working hard to move shipments to their final destinations today, but that some may experience unavoidable delays that are not covered by the company’s service guarantee.
It followed up this afternoon with details of the most affected areas:
“Severe winter weather is impacting service in areas of the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest, including locations in Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. There will be no pickups or deliveries today in the affected areas.” –Brown Bulletin, 2/17/15
As of Tuesday morning the East coast was being impacted by Octavia, with difficult driving conditions and a winter weather advisory in effect until noon. Conditions are expected to clear as the week continues, leaving delivery services to play catch up on shipments that didn’t make it out.
If your customers are expecting deliveries this week, the key to keeping them as happy as possible is communication. Most of us understand that severe weather is unavoidable and delays will happen. What they accept less is not knowing what’s happening, which is where your service team can step in to help track packages and reset expectations for revised delivery times.
Part of keeping your communications responsive is knowing what’s going on around the supply chain in the first place. For more frequent email updates on this and other industry news, or to enable another contact to receive these updates, click here to sign up. Stay safe… and warm!
Hunkered down (presumably you’re already over that phrase for the year, right?) for the inevitable snow day, it seems like the ideal time to show off some of our shots from last week’s Outdoor Retailer Winter Market show.
Continuing where we left off yesterday, the inability to provide Valentine’s Day flower deliveries snowballed into quite a media storm over the last 24 hours. And as the big day dawns, opinions seem to be varied as to just how well florists will be able to meet delivery demand today.
Over at CNN’s Fortune, the impact of snowstorm Pax is thought to be limited because the flowers have already arrived in the country and been cut, ready to order. Everyone knew that the storm was coming and most have made alternative delivery arrangements, whether before or at some point over the hastily adjusted “Valentine’s Weekend.” The adverse weather is a mere inconvenience at this point, they suggest.
The Washington Post, however, sees a much more difficult day ahead for florists desperate to make the most of the biggest day for their business. Their report tells of owners desperately making deliveries themselves, seeing every one as an opportunity to offset some of the inevitable lost sales.
Online orders also seem to be a mixed bag… bouquet.
Proflowers is sticking to the message that we reported yesterday, accepting no new delivery orders because of the storm. But main rival 1-800 Flowers seems to be sticking to business-as-usual, with Valentine’s Day delivery orders being accepted up to noon in each time zone.
And amid all of this weather confusion in the East, it’s perhaps comforting to know that the discussion on the West coast sticks to a good old-fashioned moan about exploitative Valentine’s pricing.
The truth will out over the next 12 hours or so as to just how much impact the snow has on flower deliveries. If you’re looking for a last-minute bouquet for your sweetheart on the East coast, though, we’d suggest getting a shovel and digging on over to your nearest store. Nothing says I love you like a five-hour trip to the florist!