Three Ways To Ensure Service During Natural Disasters

As an energy leader, have you wondered how you can prevent business continuity disruptions during the next significant weather event or natural disaster?

It’s not a matter of if one will occur, but when. From multiple, devastating wildfires to 100-year floods occurring within just a few years of each other to blizzards in places unaccustomed to them to the most active hurricane season on record, we must recognize and adapt to our new normal. Don’t be caught unprepared for the next event. Here are three ways to become better informed and help you put a plan in place.

1. Be weather aware

Compared to seasonal RVP changeovers, unscheduled shutdowns are extremely disruptive. There’s no master switch to turn a terminal on or off. When product is suddenly out, suppliers and wholesalers experience a cascade of negative effects. How can you prepare for and mitigate these risks?

Start with anticipation and preparation. As noted, we know extreme weather events will happen. Blizzards, hurricanes, and floods don’t occur without warning.

How closely do you track the weather? If you’re like most, you listen to the daily forecast on local radio, TV, or your smart home device to help you plan your day. But private weather organizations — those with robust technology and teams of meteorologists — can provide much more.

As an industry professional, you face significantly higher stakes, and need more robust weather information than the average person planning their clothing for the day. Severe storms can massively disrupt your ability to move promised product to its committed recipients. There’s no reason to be surprised by a storm when degreed meteorologists analyze numerous public and private weather models to develop highly accurate forecasts for companies like yours. With these resources, you can build plans and confidently make decisions by knowing what the weather will bring and how it may impact your operations and stakeholders. Working with highly trained meteorologists ensures you have advance notice of challenging weather conditions that could hinder day-to-day business, allowing you to plan accordingly.

2. Enforce allocations

If you see there might be supply interruptions due to extreme weather (or some other unexpected event), you could manage product allocations strictly by customer, so that no lifter can take more than you have allocated — preserving inventory and allowing you to meet your other commitments. You can make this determination by customer, product, location, or all three. Doing so will mitigate the impacts of product shortages and decrease risks to both your bottom line and your reputation as a reliable partner.

You might also increase allocations. Allowing customers to access more product before a known event helps them top off stores and avoid runouts when trucks scramble to resupply days later.

Lastly, those allocations must be published, and customers alerted to changes. It does no good to make strategic changes that customers don’t know about. They are trying to optimize their businesses, too. Fast, accurate communication is critical for all involved — even more so in the chaotic aftermath of a natural disaster.

3. Be proactive

You can anticipate future demand scenarios by studying historical data. Look back at the market to see how prices and margins changed due to outside influences, then use that information to adjust your allocations based on weather and energy market forecasts.

This is where trust and a customer service mindset come into play. Your customers need to know exactly where they stand in order to limit financial losses and truck dead-head turnarounds. Make sure you are the trusted partner of choice for your customers. While other suppliers run out, your customers will spread the word that your allocations and communications are dependable.

How DTN can help

We are the largest private weather forecasting service. From aviation to shipping to professional sports, we provide the accurate predictions business leaders need to confidently make critical decisions. Best of all, our weather solutions integrate into other products you may already use, like DTN Fuel Buyer® and DTN ProphetX®, providing advance notice of negatively impactful weather events in the same dashboards you use every day.

We also offer solutions like DTN Allocation Viewer, which shows your customers their remaining allocations and refresh details. DTN Allocation Tracker™ provides a consolidated view of allocations for multiple suppliers, plus real-time alerts for allocation percentages or product refreshes (bonus: it also integrates with DTN Fuel Buyer). DTN TABS® Customer Managed Alerts let your customers define the types of notifications they want to receive.

If you’re interested in learning how to mitigate the risks to your business posed by severe weather events, get in touch with us today. You’ll see how DTN can help you better serve your customers and support your communities.