Weather-related delays can be mitigated by supply chain management software.

As Hurricane Matthew gained strength off the coast of Florida, local and regional retailers are bracing for a negative impact on business. And while logistics experts note that weather-related disruptions could delay shipments on a broader scale, supply chain management software can help manage omnichannel operations.

Mark Burstein, president of sales, marketing and research and development at NGC Software, and Nick McLean, chief executive officer at OrderDynamics, said retailers could see supply chain delays over the next few days. They noted that shipments could be rerouted, or just held in place.

Burstein said the disruptions comes as the National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to show a gain of 3.6 percent and while the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “has predicted a normal to above-normal hurricane season with up to eight hurricanes predicted this season in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.”

“With hurricane season in full swing and Hurricane Matthew quickly approaching the southern U.S. coast, it drives the question of how much this year’s hurricane season will impact and affect shipping routes and production throughout the Caribbean, Mexico and southern U.S.,” Burstein said. “An increase in holiday traffic and a fairly active hurricane season will test supply chain agility and flexibility for retailers and manufacturers with operations along hurricane impact areas to maintain delivery schedules and manage alternative sourcing.”

Burstein robust supply chain management software “can help retailers and manufacturers plan for severe weather, and reroute materials to make sure orders make it to the distribution centers or stores in time for the busy holiday season.”

McLean noted that severe weather like Hurricane Matthew, “heavy snowstorms in the months to come, freezing rain, and spring floods all affect the fulfillment supply chain.”

“Without undermining the severity of these extreme weather conditions, it is critical that retailers are equipped to bounce back as fast as possible to not only protect the business, but support the people in the affected area and local economy,” the ceo said adding that order management systems, or OMS, can be “critical to ensuring the speed and accuracy of fulfillment, regardless of external pressures like weather.”

“An OMS enables omnichannel retailers to source from inventory distributed across their entire network,” McClean explained. “If a distribution center is shut down due to a hurricane, customer orders can be fulfilled from in-store stock in locations not affected by the weather. In effect, a robust order management system helps increase the overall flexibility, adaptability and robustness of the retailer’s entire fulfillment ecosystem.”

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