Do's and Don'ts of Hurricane Relief
American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), an industry-wide organization that provides supply chain assistance to disaster relief organizations and other non-profits, offers a few practical do's and don'ts to help during a disaster.
DO make a pre-offer. If you have warehouse space, trucks, equipment, or expertise to share, offer it immediately. The more advance information ALAN has about available resources, the more quickly and effectively it can fulfill assistance requests as they come in.
DON'T assume you can't help just because your operations are nowhere near the disaster area. Often the donated materials that urgently need to get to disaster sites may be located much farther away and require more logistics support than you might imagine. The seemingly random or remote location, service, or equipment you're offering may be just the ticket.
DON'T host a collection drive for products. Although the intention behind these drives is good, they often create more challenges than they solve—including adding more products to a supply chain that is already under tremendous strain. At a time when transportation capacity to disaster-impacted markets is overloaded, the last thing we need to do is choke it even more.
DO consider helping in other ways instead. If you're looking for a tangible way to engage your employees in hurricane relief, pick a humanitarian organization and collect money for it instead. Such donations will be more useful and efficient. And unlike many post-disaster product donations—which often end up in landfills—they will not go to waste.
DON'T keep area insights to yourself. When it comes to transportation, supply chain professionals understand what normal looks like in a way that most people don't. Having these kinds of expert, private sector insights allows emergency management workers to make better informed disaster-relief decisions. So if you do business in the Carolinas, tell us what you know and what you're hearing. Survivors get what they need faster when we all work together.