Trucking Disaster Planning: Protecting Your Future
Is your organization prepared for a disaster or emergency? Organizations who have a plan in place may recover more quickly, whereas others may shut their doors permanently after a short disruption to their business.
When Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast almost ten years ago the entire country came to the rescue with volunteers and aid. Insurance companies were there to help make their customers whole again. Even with the relief effort, many companies that were once successful had to close their doors permanently; and employees were forced to leave the region to find work.
Every part of the country is exposed to natural or man-made disasters. Most often it’s something on a much smaller scale. The smallest scale disaster like a broken water pipe could flood your dispatch office disabling the phone and computer systems. Could dispatching still be done, would loads be lost?
For instance, what if power is lost due to a storm knocking out power lines? Will your top shipper operate its warehouse; will there be any loads to move? What affect would this have on your business? How long could you stay in business without the revenue from this relationship? Let’s examine the essential steps of a successful disaster plan.
- Be committed to allocating resources to developing a plan.
- Review insurance policies and discuss concerns with your agent to make sure you are adequately insured.
- Assign the responsibilities to a dependable employee.
- Identify possible disasters or emergencies.
- Ask questions of key customers, vendors, and suppliers to make sure they have a plan. If one is not in place encourage them to put something in place.
- Put a plan in place and roll it out to everyone at all levels of the company.
- Monitor the plan. Regularly review the plan and update it as the environment and even key managers who are charged with carrying out the plan change. Take time to run scenarios.
In the trucking industry there are some unique situations that need to be addressed in this plan:
- Separation of Risk – Are trucks regularly concentrated in one terminal during weekends or holidays? Disasters do not take vacations, one event could take out all equipment.
- Relocation – Are arrangements made for an alternative facility?
- Funds or Credit – Is money available to expedite a recovery?
- Contingency Plan- Is there a plan for alternative loads if a key shipper is shut down for an extended period?
- Records – Are irreplaceable documents, accounts receivable, etc stored in duplicate at an offsite location? Could you pass a DOT audit without these records?
- Employees – Do procedures quickly account for employees (primary and alternative contact numbers along with a plan if communications are down)?
- Key Employees – Have you informed key employees about what could happen in a long term shutdown, when no revenue is coming in? It is important to let them know that they may be working long stressful hours to get things up and running again.
- Evacuation Plan – Do you have a plan to preserve employees?
Still not sure where to start? Talk to your insurance agent, as a specialist in the trucking industry they’ve been on the front lines many times helping companies just like yours work through various devastating events.