Logistics company SBS Worldwide worked tirelessly through the weekend to maintain its clients supply chains as the devastating hurricane Irene battered the US north east.
Early on Monday morning, SBS Worldwide’s New Jersey office was "open for business as usual", after airports and seaports were closed and road infrastructure was reduced to a honeycomb of flowing water, trees and mud as Irene hit the US east coast over the weekend.
SBS Worldwide US MD Lars Kloch says preparation is key to ensuring that disruption to its clients’ supply chains is kept to a minimum at times like these.
He says: "The fundamental concerns around a situation like this for SBS are; our People, our Property and our Customers’ Possessions."
"We contacted our customers at the first opportunity and arranged to pull their urgent shipments forward."
"We advised all clients and partners of our contingency plans and gave them emergency contact details."
"Computer systems were secured; routers and servers relocated and telephone/email communications diverted to other unaffected US office locations."
"By the time we left the office late on Friday, all key personnel had been issued with secure Blackberry mobile devices, we had arranged web connectivity from home to our operating systems and our building was locked down tight."
"Any remaining freight within our warehouse had been secured in high rack locations, the doors had been sandbagged and all electronic systems had been wrapped in waterproof packaging."
Steve Walker, SBS Worldwide Group Chairman, adds that communication is another key factor to maintaining supply chains.
"Customers and staff need to know what is happening," he says. "Our IT teams on both sides of the Atlantic reacted seamlessly to ensure communication was possible.
"Plans for after the disaster were also put into place to ensure that we could route shipments through any of our other US gateways and keep the lines of international commerce flowing"
Barbara Belli, General Manager of our New Jersey (NJ) office, adds: "Our local staff have been amazing and our core NJ Emergency Team worked tirelessly over the weekend and actually made it into the office on Monday to asses any damage, which we are pleased to announce was minimal."
"We have planned well and been fortunate, none of our staff have been harmed, our property has survived and our customers’ freight is in A1 condition".
The logistics company says that local road infrastructures is still a challenge and will remain so for some time but the local air and maritime ports are slowly returning to normal.
SBS Worldwide says its supply chain teams are on standby to help any existing or new clients get their business back on track and adds its staff are at their desks to take client calls.