By: Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations, FMI
Since early this year, this country, industry, and the public have modified our professional and personal lives to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19.
Although this industry is no stranger to disasters, this crisis has stretched even the most prepared within our industry and others. Early in the outbreak, I found myself comparing lessons learned from natural disasters like a hurricane to inform various stakeholders on the impact and resilience of the food supply chain and our industry.
Unfortunately, both COVID-19 and hurricane season are incredibly devastating to a business, communities, and personal health. But, one key differentiator is that for days, we can see the hurricane heading toward us, allowing for some preparation and, in many cases, evacuation from the imminent danger.
In the worst disasters involving populations, this industry and its ability to rally around retailers and communities in impacted areas, has been a bright light and needed insurance that the supply chain in the impacted area remains resilient. Once competitors under blue skies, the industry is all for one and one for all when those same skies turn black.
The hurricane known as SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 didn’t reveal its course as it slowly moved across the blue waters of Atlantic or Pacific, rather it silently made landfall with no announcement or projected destination. Still today, it remains somewhat a mystery and not easily knocked off its path as our country braces for what is expected to be another active hurricane season, according to experts.
During this time when the weather is still somewhat calm, we encourage retailers, wholesalers and their trading partners to start having those discussions about what happens when nature drops a hurricane on top of a pandemic. What can we do today, to ensure the public and the supply chain remain resilient if and when that time comes?
To assist the industry, FMI has activated our hurricane resources page on FMI.org, as well as aNatural Disaster Guide that retailers can use as an additional resource to their individual plans. Additionally, our new partnership with SABER Space will allow retailers to share operation status with local, state, and federal agencies ensuring they’re focused on their communities in most need.