The Top Supply Chain Disruptors in Each U.S. Region

By Logan Wamsley

The study of geography and climate is a fascinating one. The infinite variations in landscapes, temperature, humidity, and inclement weather patterns have the potential to keep any scholar busy for decades — especially as long-standing trends continue to evolve over time. But outside of academia, such data has numerous applications in the business world, as well. In the supply chain industry, for example, this information is priceless in helping to implement strategies to minimize disruption.

In strict geographic terms, it’s impossible to choose a location that’s entirely immune to climate-related risk. As every climate is different, so are the factors that must be considered when determining a location to warehouse critical electronic components. Below is a brief list of some of the most common storage regions in the United States, and what supply chain managers should keep in mind when operating in each area.

West Coast

Disruptor: Fire

The home of Silicon Valley has been a regular part of the news cycle not just for its innovative technologies, but for its unfortunate streak of wildfires. In just the last week, Southern California was hit with a record-breaking heat wave that is only further stoking the deadly wildfires currently blazing throughout Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and especially California. In California alone, approximately 1,031 miles of land has been torched this year. For supply chains operating in this area, every precaution must be taken against this threat including fire-proof building materials, proper insulation from exterior temperatures, and fire suppressions systems specially-designed to leave moisture-sensitive electronic components unharmed.

Midwest

Disruptor: Tornadoes

Tornadoes, of course, are a terrifying natural phenomenon to behold, not to mention deadly; the winds within a tornado’s cyclone can reach as high as 300 mph, although they only have to contain wind speeds around 130 mph to be considered deadly. The storms outside of the cyclone can be just as dangerous, as well, producing hail several inches wide (sometimes the size of softballs). “Tornado Alley” in the Midwest, thankfully, is experiencing a relatively quiet year, but that does not diminish the threat in the slightest. Should this location be home to a few of your storage facilities, reinforced steel construction as well as backup generators to maintain climate control in case of a power outage are absolutely critical to ensuring business continuity.

Southeast

Disruptor: Hurricanes, Floods

The corporate office of Partstat is located here, and hurricanes are a part of life for our supply chain specialists, personally and professionally. In addition to property-destroying winds in excess of 150 mph, the resulting floods have been known to bring entire cities to a complete standstill for weeks. Many Florida residents (and those in the Caribbean), for example, are still reeling from the effects of 2017’s Hurricane Irma, which caused nearly $70 billion in economic losses. In the supply chain industry, many of the same precautions taken for tornado-prone regions apply here, as well as additional structural reinforcement for flooding. And even when hurricanes are not present, additional steps should be taken to maintain a stable humidity suitable for moisture-sensitive inventory year-round.

Northern Regions

Disruptor: Snow

In the winter months, nothing has quite the widespread impact on a supply chain than a snowstorm. Not only can power outages severely impact storage facilities’ ability to maintain optimal climate control, but flight delays and unsafe roadways can prove to be a significant impotence on an OEM’s ability to fulfill inventory as required. Even worse, once snow with at least 10 percent water equivalent melts, there is also a significant risk of flooding. No industry, from petrol to consumer products, is entirely immune to these issues, and mitigating their effects requires maximum visibility and transparency throughout all elements of the supply chain — allowing OEMs the ability to prepare and adapt, as needed.

In Brief

The time to prepare for the worst is now. Should any of these examples concern you, or if they’ve impacted your critical inventory in the past, check out our custom storage vault here. Rated “Best-in-Class” for electronic component storage, it represents the only solution in the industry capable of guaranteeing business continuity. This, along with Partstat’s custom global fulfillment capabilities, enable our customers to support even the most demanding product life cycles with ease and peace of mind.