Hurricane Irma: Storm Supply Chains

Categories : Procurement Goals | | Reduce Risk Published on : Sep 13 2017

By: Oxford College of Procurement & Supply

"The strain on Florida’s supply chains became evident within hours of the declaration. Bottled water was stripped from the shelves in supermarkets including Publix, Winn Dixie, Costco and Walmart.  Queues began to build outside most petrol stations. More queues developed at sandbag distribution centres. What started out as an orderly plan to prepare quickly turned into a frenzied rush to stock up on essentials.

By the second day canned goods had been sold out, as had batteries. Petrol stations began to run out of fuels and there was no sand for the sandbags. By Thursday the Tampa Bay Area had distributed more than 90,000 sand bags. Local DIY stores such as Lowes and Home Depot had ran out of plywood to cover up windows as well as generators.

The retail supply chain continued to do its best to restock shelves with water but the demand was just too great. U.S. supply chains differ from UK supply chains as they focus more on operations and statistical analysis. This allows them to concentrate on demand patterns across the continent. This is important when considering sudden peaks in demand, especially with a small peninsula such as Florida where the routes in and out are restricted. Several retailers struggled to deliver as the roads built up with traffic with people evacuating the Keys."

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