El Niño-proofing your business: Tips to resilience in uncertain climates
El Niño-proofing your business is essential for mitigating the impact of extreme weather events on your operations.
After a prolonged period of insufficient rainfall in Kenya, the October to December rain season is finally here. The wetter-than-normal rain season is likely to be the El Niño projected to continue until January 2024. From previous experience, the heavy rains lead to a variety of issues for businesses such as supply chain disruptions. Thus, businesses, big or small, must take proactive steps to protect their operations from the impact of El Niño. Here are a few tips to help your business become El Niño-proof.
- Weather Resilient Structures: Protecting Your Infrastructure
The first step in El Niño-proofing your business is to ensure that your physical infrastructure can withstand extreme weather conditions. This includes reinforcing roofs and sealing any leakages, improving drainage systems, and repairing any parts of the structure that are likely to be damaged by the heavy rains. The idea is to do what you can early to ensure the structure is in good condition to save your goods from rain damage and the business from costly repairs and downtime. Here, a stitch in time will save nine.
- Flexible Work Arrangements: Embrace Remote Work
Extreme weather events during El Niño can make commuting to work challenging and time-wasting due to heavy traffic or even hazardous. To ensure business continuity, adopt flexible work arrangements, including the option for employees to work from home. Implement remote work policies and provide the necessary tools and support for employees to stay productive regardless of their location.
- Delivery Riders and Logistics: Adapting to Weather Challenges
Businesses relying on deliveries can be severely impacted by adverse weather. Enlist more delivery riders during peak El Niño periods to maintain service levels or make use of established companies/businesses offering delivery services such as Benchmark deliveries, Haraka deliveries and taxi-hailing companies such as Uber and Bolt. Make sure your logistics partners are equipped to adapt to changing conditions and consider diversifying your routes to avoid flooded or blocked areas.
- Supply Chain Management: Prepare for Delays
El Niño can disrupt not only global supply chains but also local supply chains causing delays and shortages. Therefore, prepare your business for any eventualities. Establish contingency plans, maintain buffer stocks of critical supplies, and consider diversifying your supplier base. A diversified supply chain can help mitigate the impact of disruptions in any one region.
- Employee Safety: Prioritize Well-being
El Niño can pose risks to employees due to extreme weather events such as floods. Implementing safety precautions and regularly monitoring weather forecasts will enable the business to anticipate potential risks and make informed decisions about whether it is safe for employees to go out or for riders to carry out deliveries.
Furthermore, providing alternative solutions such as rerouting deliveries, temporarily suspending services in severely affected areas, or utilising alternative transportation methods during flood events can help ensure that the business maintains its commitment to employee safety while still meeting customer needs.
- Transportation: Plan for Diverse Scenarios
Transportation disruptions are common during El Niño. Plan for alternative transportation methods or temporary accommodations for employees stranded due to weather-related issues. Be prepared to adjust delivery and transportation schedules to adapt to changing conditions.
- Field Workers: Keep Them Safe and Informed
Field workers often face the brunt of extreme weather conditions. Equip them with appropriate gear and provide training on safety measures. Regularly communicate weather updates and evacuation plans to ensure their well-being.
- Food Safety and Storage: Prevent Losses
In the food industry, El Niño can affect food safety and storage. Ensure your facilities are equipped with backup power sources, maintain temperature-controlled storage, and implement rigorous quality control measures to prevent spoilage.
In conclusion, El Niño-proofing your business is essential for mitigating the impact of extreme weather events on your operations. By investing in climate-resilient infrastructure, adopting flexible work arrangements, diversifying supply chains, and prioritising safety, your business can better withstand the challenges posed by El Niño and remain resilient in an unpredictable climate. Preparing for the worst will position your business to weather the storm and continue thriving, even in the face of climatic uncertainty.