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How to protect your critical and urgent shipments
When many of us think of weather delays, we naturally think of winter storms – snow, ice, wind. Those are all events we plan for at The Quick Group, but we don’t stop planning when the winter turns to spring. That’s because spring weather is unpredictable, which makes keeping an eye on weather patterns even more critical. Just this year, heavy spring rains caused flash flooding across Tennessee. In addition to rain, thunderstorms can bring lightning and tornadoes – which can both ground planes. It doesn’t stop there, either, because hurricane and tropical storm season is right around the corner. At home, we all keep extra batteries and flashlights handy in case the power goes out, but when you're delivering life-saving organs, blood or drug therapies – you need to know you have a logistics partner who has seen it all – and has solved it all.
Technology + People = Preparedness
There is no controlling the weather. When it comes to keeping your supply chain moving, however, you can gain some control over having a good outcome. The best way to do that is by partnering with a seasoned logistics expert – one who has both the knowledgeable people and technology to keep you informed.
That’s what you get with Quick. Our leading technology tools give clients the transparency and real-time shipment data they need with EDIs and APIs for easy integration. Our most recent release of QuickOnline, for example, offers flexibility with access via the web or through an app on a mobile device. Screens have been redesigned to make placing orders faster and more straightforward, which is critical for our clients, who typically have to provide us with very detailed information. And we're constantly collecting data from multiple sources that we push to customers through QuickOnline – whether on the web, tablet or phone – so they always have access to an up-to-the-minute status of their shipment any time, anywhere.
This is combined with our Enterprise system, which provides Quick's global operations team with the most up-to-date information on pending weather events, flight availability and status, traffic patterns, and more. Our knowledgeable people use that technology and data to make the best plans and decisions to meet our customer's critical deadlines. When we know a hurricane is coming, we rely on all our systems to analyze its path. But it’s our people who get on calls together to discuss where it’s likely to make landfall – and map out contingency plans for each scenario.
The safety of our staff is first and foremost, of course, as is making sure we can continue to operate and support our customers. In one case, for instance, Quick chartered a plane and flew staff from Florida to New York ahead of a hurricane so there would be no interruption in service. That's because if it's at all possible, we like to give our customers access to the same people they are used to working with, even during a disruption. When that's not possible because staff aren't able to get to work for some reason, we reroute calls to other call centers so someone is always there to help – 24/7. We’ve also developed capability for 70% of our staff to work remotely. Employees can log into our operating system and take customer calls right from wherever they are, whether that’s home or other disaster recovery locations.
Communication is Key
When we know bad weather is coming, we make sure we continually talk to all our key stakeholders. This includes airlines, our service providers and partners, and our operations and business continuity teams worldwide. All these conversations help us make well-informed contingency plans, of course, but also to ensure we can keep customers up-to-speed.
Our customer relationship managers reach out to clients personally during emergencies to update them on whatever is happening. As an example, we'll reach out to customers whose shipping needs we think may be impacted by an impending weather event, agree on a contingency plan and provide them with real-time updates throughout transit. Specifically, we let them know what airports and roads we expect to be closed and what we’re doing to work around it. It’s been our experience that customers appreciate a personal phone call in addition to emails, texts and other automated messages because it lets them ask questions and gives them peace of mind.
Expect the Unexpected
'Expect the unexpected' has long been Quick's philosophy – and it’s one of the things our customers value most: we always have a plan. It starts with the best and safest routing and transportation options to get a shipment where it’s going. To deal with unexpected delays, we always have a secondary contingency plan in place as well – regardless of whether we are expecting any kind of storm or weather event.
We don’t stop there, however. We also always have a third contingency plan just in case the secondary plan won’t work either. In fact, we relied on this ‘Plan C’ quite a lot during 2020 as airports around the world started shutting down operations as a result of the pandemic. This often includes working with our global network of ground service partners – van and truck drivers with whom we have long-standing relationships. These drivers are all hand-selected and trained according to Quick's strict quality assurance protocols, helping us ensure the integrity of every critical shipment from beginning to end.
The bottom line is that Quick has been at this for 40 years. Many people in the company have been with us almost from the beginning. So when we say we’ve seen it all – we mean it. Here’s just one example of how Quick made sure the impossible happened, even in the middle of a major snowstorm. There are also measures you can take to protect your business. Read more in this blog from Josh Gilmore, Senior VP Global Operations. Be sure to stay up-to-date on global events and travel disruptions with our service alerts. We also have a dedicated resource for information about Coronavirus including current news about vaccines and the pandemic’s impact on the supply chain.