Back in late January, the midwest was rocked by a “polar vortex” — bringing record low temperatures and life-threatening conditions. Even for broad-shouldered cities like Chicago and Detroit, this was a natural event that forced everyone to stop what they were doing and find safety while the storm passed through.
The rare winter weather event forced schools to close and thousands of businesses to delay operations. More than 1,400 flights were cancelled in a single day at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, with thousands more delayed or cancelled elsewhere. The storm also caused UPS, Amazon, and even the U.S. Postal Service to suspend deliveries due to unsafe travel conditions for cargo planes and shipping trucks.
Because of this emergency, millions of packages and letters were rerouted or delayed in some way. No amount of logistics experience can prepare shipping companies for a disaster like this, and the resulting bottlenecks in delivery routes, endless customer complaints, and lost revenues.
But the shipping industry does not sleep. And this was just another day for the tireless men and women making sure deliveries get where they need to go, by hook or by crook.
Geography and seasonality are enormous factors for shippers, online retailers, and the countless businesses who rely on timely inbound and outbound deliveries. This is not only because of weather issues, but also varying demand based on where you are shipping to, and when, among other things.
In addition to the shipping and logistics sectors, this concept has become increasingly relevant for other departments. One such example is marketing. The term “geomarketing” arose in the early aughts when Google Adwords introduced the ability to track a customer’s physical location alongside their internet searches. Geomarketing has grown more popular thanks to technologies like GPS tracking and GSM localization.
This information allows sales and marketing teams to identify the best targeting opportunities based on geography — and the products or services that customers are likely to respond to depending on their whereabouts. Similarly, depending on the season, digital marketers may shape their messaging differently and push different products to their audience — while the shipping strategy or options are adjusted as needed.
Events like the polar vortex of 2019 highlight the importance of considering seasonality and geography for companies with a shipping component. Even without a severe weather pattern, the unique conditions of different areas — as well as their proximity to a shipment’s origin — will play a hand in the delivery process, from the materials used in packaging to the estimated time of arrival.
With a raised awareness of geographic factors, and a proactive effort in marketing and planning supply chain activities, businesses can boost their bottom line, customer satisfaction, and overall efficiency — while minimizing incidents like delayed or damaged goods. There are certain natural disasters or other emergencies you can’t simulate until they actually happen — but a concentrated effort to understand geography and seasonality will only help your company operate and stay prepared for the worst.
Safeguarding your supply chain can also entail the accurate tracking of shipments, so you can locate them in relation to problematic weather or other geographic hurdles. LocatorX offers tracking technology that allows you to find your assets through any conditions, as well as monitor their delivery history and the people or places involved. Initiatives like these can ensure that your supply chain runs smoothly and that not even the next polar vortex can disrupt your business.