Comprehension of the Vast, Stormy Supply Chain

Weather related logistics issues were rampant last month, and just like during the 2020
pandemic shut-downs, people across the entire country realized how far-reaching logistical
problems can be. Empty shelves due to overbuying, but also lack of timely deliveries, hit the
everyday consumer hardest right where they live, nationwide. Many were suddenly faced with
the inconveniences or severe impacts that happen when any piece of the supply chain sees

Consumers can easily imagine that trucks struggle to make it down roads, even the largest
highways, in harsh enough conditions. They experience that as well and may even have the
option of staying home. Truck drivers aren’t so fortunate. Ice and poor visibility can cause
accidents, offroading, impasses, and full road closures preventing deliveries from reaching their
destinations. And yet, that’s only a part of the equation. Loading dock workers may be unable
to make it to their shifts or safely do their jobs. Equipment on trucks doesn’t always survive
extreme conditions, and mechanics & truck parts are subject to the same delays and hazards.
Furthermore, even if some branch of the logistical network is clear, materials and resources
further up the supply chain may face adversity and delays, which sends problems down the line
affecting more and more goods and services.

Behind the scenes at logistics companies, the daily art of connecting the pieces doesn’t
necessarily run the same either. According to Sleek’s Will Doyel,

“Relationships, tender acceptances, and patience are tested, revealing the hidden challenges
faced by both asset-based companies and 3PLs. Understanding the capacity crunch caused by
weather-related issues is crucial for all stakeholders.”

“Beyond snow and ice, overall temperature plays a vital role in short-term profit or losses for
brokers, carriers, and customers.”

To grasp the even bigger picture, consider a few more factors motivating tight capacity due to
temperature. Carriers enduring below freezing temperatures face challenges, requiring them to
keep the truck running continuously, impacting fuel costs and potentially leading to downtime.
Truck drivers run on highly regulated schedules with mandated drive times and breaks. Any
missed appointment at a dock can cause backlogs and difficulties in rescheduling, even for a
few days at a time. The duration of freezing temperatures directly affects work hours and profit
for those navigating these challenges. This squeezes capacity, guaranteeing that even from
square one, logistical puzzle pieces may no longer fit together ideally.

Understanding this vast web of moving pieces is crucial to figuring out why products and
services don’t perfectly hit their targets year-round. Working in logistics, we learn to be humbled
and appreciate how the intricately designed supply chain provides us with necessities and on-
demand luxuries when everything runs smoothly the rest of the time.

This blog was written by Caitlin Radick and Will Doyel. Caitlin is a Carrier Success Leader & Product Expert at Sleek Technologies, and has extensive knowledge of trucking, logistics, and the North American supply chain. Will Doyel, with 14 years of logistics expertise, has a rich history of fostering strong carrier relations and excelling in customer account management for Sleek Technologies.