5 ways to protect your supply chain through a heatwave


Can your supply chain take the heat?

This week the UK is set to face two days of extreme heat with temperatures climbing to highs of 40°C. And these extreme spikes in temperature are expected to become more common. With that in mind, we’re exploring what steps your business can take to prepare and protect your stock, staff and supply chain from heatwaves now, and for years to come.

  1. Monitor sensitive stock

Whether it’s shelf life or storage conditions, keeping tabs on time- and temperature-sensitive inventory is critical during heatwaves. Unused inventory that spoils or expires can have a serious impact on the bottom lines of a business – not only are you losing stock, but you’re also paying to replace it. To keep stock protected, staff must be aware of what needs to be moved or disposed of as a priority.

With most businesses already despatching to customers on a first in, first out (FIFO) basis, or by earliest expiry date, it’s important to have a process that records a product’s traceability. Armed with this information, businesses provide themselves with an additional level of control over their stock in extreme conditions.

Find out how inventory tracking allows you to prioritise stock >

  1. Keep your eyes on the road

As well as extreme conditions in the workplace, are the conditions out on the roads. Traffic delays mean delivery drivers will be seeking alternate routes to their destination.

Without the ability to easily react and manage these situations, companies can find their drivers or third-party couriers taking longer alternative routes when they encounter disruption when out making deliveries. This disorganisation together with poor vehicle/schedule management can lead to despatch delays, orders going missing and ultimately, poor customer service. Therefore, companies despatching through their own fleet of vehicles should ensure they have an effective method of managing van usage and the routes that they are taking.

Discover how to manage your vehicle fleets >

  1. Provide effortless working conditions

Through hot spells, it’s critical to provide tools that make for a more comfortable and hassle-free working environment – particularly in your warehouse. With the right levels of automation, what would otherwise be a hot and stressful day navigating outdated and disjointed systems, is instead a day working through a manageable set of tasks.

With a handheld mobile device, staff can scan stock in, be directed to the shortest walk routes, as well as being promoted with onscreen alerts. The OrderWise Mobile WMS combined with Zebra’s unmatched mobile device hardware can also work in extreme heat with screens visible even in bright sunlight.

Watch how a mobile WMS device can accelerate productivity >


  1. If you can, promote!

Selling fans? Paddling pools? Swimwear or BBQ equipment? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to capitalise on your bestsellers during the heatwave. Generate buzz on your selling channels with a 24-hour promotion – complete with a countdown clock running in a prominent position on your website. From here, host a dedicated page on your website with a collection of all items marked with offers.

Discover how to properly manage these types of promotions >

  1. Lighten the load 

As warehouse employers continue to tackle the current labour shortage, offering jobs that don’t ware workers down is critical. Especially in extreme working conditions. Employers must invest in solutions that take care of their workers, without compromising on efficiency or productivity.

For the warehouses taking their future and workforce seriously, robotic automation is exactly that solution. With robots removing much of the heavy lifting, as well as the need to walk endlessly between bins, workers are provided with conditions that better serve their needs, as well as the needs of the business.

Step into the world of warehouse robotics and automation >

As climate change makes extreme weather more frequent, the need to create a supply chain infrastructure that’s able to cope under this specific kind of pressure will only heighten. Now more than ever, is the time to identify how heatwaves are compromising your business and start searching for modern and built-to-last solutions.