By Woody Lovelace, Senior VP of Corporate Planning & Development
This article was originally published in The Eagle Eye News, First Quarter 2017.
In any given year Southeastern will experience a few weather incidents that will disrupt a significant portion of the service network and then there will be many other more isolated situations. Quickly think of the major floods in recent years across our southern coastal areas from South Texas to Mississippi to Louisiana to the Carolinas. Do you remember the ice storms in 2015 that impacted all of the northern portion of our network from Texas all the way to Virginia?
Knowing how important our service is to our customers we always strive to keep our customers informed of how these incidents may impact their shipments and supply chains. We are happy to announce that we have enhanced this capability by developing a new Weather Alert system on our website. This system involves several functions that, in combination, provide a more complete and timely picture of the weather and its potential impact on operations.
First, we have a standard process for the service centers to report the impact of weather on the day’s operation. Our support center operations team then aggregates this data and updates the website application. If necessary these updates can continue throughout the day.
Next, any update that results in a limited operation or closure of a service center(s) will create an alert on our website in the Breaking News. This Weather Alert created in the Breaking News contains a link that will open a service map of our network that uses color-coding to indicate the level of operation for every service center. You will see an example on Map 1 and the three service center operational levels. Green indicates the service center is fully operational, yellow indicates a limited operation, and red indicates that the service center had to be closed for the day. There is a map legend at the lower right portion of the screen that provides these descriptions and the ability to view only the service centers in any of these categories.This is accomplished by simply clicking and checking the provided boxes. One additional note about operational service levels. There are occasions that our limited operations is more due to the closings of our local customer base instead of our own ability to provide service. By clicking any service center icon you are able to view a more detailed weather report for that facility. This report always includes the operational status, current temperature, and current weather. It may also include some additional status information about the location. You can see an example of this report in Map 2. Note there is a legend in the lower left portion of the screen that provides visibility to weather alerts, service center locations, and major interstates. The weather alerts from this legend are provided by AerisWeather, an international weather service and mapping platform, and is updated every 15 minutes. These updates are displayed as color-coded shadows on the map that can be clicked for a detailed report of the alert.
A new feature will be added in 2017 to enable our customers to request the Weather Alerts to be automatically sent to their email address which prevents the need of checking our website. Please be on the lookout for that capability in the near future.
This is just another small example of Southeastern’s commitment to providing the best LTL service in the Sunbelt.