We ran across a report from Business Network CNBC that visually portrays what it’s like to be a home improvement retailer amid natural disasters.

As will all know, planning for such extraordinary events occur way before the actual occurrence.  Years of experience, planning and mock drills are part of each retailer’s response plans. In the case of both Hurricane Harvey and Irma that both impacted the U.S. within a two-week interval, pre-planning and actual response plans overlapped, with teams having to simultaneously deal with responding to needs resulting from both events. Home improvement retailers Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Lowes, and True Value had teams activated days before each major storm, initiating a defined set of response processes and utilizing inventory intelligence data to move inventory expected to be in the highest demand before and after the disaster. Investments in technology also helped but in times of crisis all forms of tools come into play. 

The report cites data indicating that investments in logistics and supply chain capability by home improvement retailers typically can experience 10 to 15 times more in sales leading up to and after each major storm event.  Supply Chain Matters would hasten to add that such capabilities serve as threshold table stakes in overall competition for the retail and wholesale dollar.

It was further interesting to view the video of CNBC reporter Diana Olick walking among the make-shift response rooms at home improvement retailer Home Depot’s corporate headquarters. There was a vendor center communicating with various key suppliers, a cross-function center dealing with individual retail store needs, the supply chain center which was coordinating supply chain needs and a logistics center staffed by trucking contractors, each coordinating trucking loads to various destinations.  For those not familiar with the mission critical role of the supply chain, the video serves as a great testimonial.


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