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How inclement weather impacts last mile

Delivery truck stuck in snow

How inclement weather impacts last mile

In Arkansas, we’ve already had below-freezing temperatures this season and this year has seen lots of unusual flooding. Weather is amazing but it can also wreak havoc on lives and businesses. For the last mile delivery industry, weather can easily cause time-consuming, costly problems.

In Arkansas, we’ve already had below-freezing temperatures this season and this year has seen lots of unusual flooding. Weather is amazing but it can also wreak havoc on lives and businesses. For the last mile delivery industry, weather can easily cause time-consuming, costly problems.

According to an article in Forbes earlier this year, “Severe weather occurrences like heavy precipitation, blizzards and high winds are estimated to cause an average of 23 percent of all trucking delays,” the article reads.

“These delays cost the industry almost $3.5 billion annually. While these severe weather incidents may cost transportation companies more than $100 million daily, the ripple effects become apparent to retailers and eventually consumers.”

We’ve also read various studies that confirm that trucking companies lose an estimated 32.6 billion vehicle hours annually due to weather-related congestion in 281 of the nation’s metropolitan areas.

Needless to say, weather can be a big issue! Let’s take a quick look at the various ways inclement weather can cause problems for the last mile delivery industry.

Safety concerns

Whether we’re talking about safety for the delivery crews or safety for the items being delivered, bad roads, slick sidewalks, wind, and many other weather elements easily cause safety problems for all.

Impassable roads

Sometimes, we simply can’t get there. This is especially true on rural roads, which are often in much worse condition than roads in town. When we can’t get down the road, even paved roads, the deliveries can’t be made.

Disruptions throughout the supply chain

Sometimes, the delays are not because of weather in our region. If the location where an item is originating from or traveling through on a leg of the delivery supply chain is experiencing bad weather, that will delay final delivery.

Hyper-sensitive drivers and law enforcement

In times when last mile delivery trucks can make it on the roads, inclement weather tends to make other drivers more anxious and law enforcement out in greater force. This often slows things down and can potentially cause wrecks from nervous drivers.

What we can do about it

To some degree, we all just have to wait and be patient when bad weather comes around. But considering about 70 percent of the population lives in snowy regions (receives at least 5 inches of snow annually), that’s not always practical.

First and foremost, communication is key. That is something we are working on with all our partners so we can notify consignees if their delivery has not arrived at our location yet or if there is some sort of delay getting to them from our docks. It’s paramount that the different legs of the supply chain communicate better with each other to reduce and better manage delays as much as possible.

Also, there is a growing movement in the logistics industry to partner with meteorologists to use weather data to better plan routes, delivery times, and overall communication.

 

As we get increasingly busy with last mile deliveries, we promise to continue working to make deliveries as efficient as possible. Are you needing a logistics partner for your last mile deliveries in Northwest Arkansas, Little Rock, or Tulsa? Give us a call! 

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