The winter of 2013-2014 will go down as a winter to remember, though we’d all like to quickly forget! The cold temperatures, snow and ice affected us all. The weather caused all sorts of logistical nightmares for not only our industry but many others.
In talking with many companies in a variety of industries, I discovered that the most common winter issues were:
- businesses closed
- transportation snarled
- equipment not running
Temperatures hit record lows in many areas. Here in North Carolina, October through March was the coldest period we've had in over 100 years. On many of the coldest days, companies did not run at all. It was too dangerous for employees to even attempt a commute to work.
It’s no surprise that when roads and highways are covered in snow that trucks don’t run. This was a common occurrence during the winter of 2013-14. Roads weren't the only issue causing transportation problems. I heard of brakes freezing and entire rigs becoming frozen to the ground. Rail was affected too. A large section of rail was covered by so much snow that the line was shut down for days.
Equipment Doesn’t Run
In the wood products industry, much of our activity is outdoors and production equipment has minimal protection from the elements. We encountered many instances this winter where it took several hours to bring equipment up to minimal operational capability. Problems with hydraulics not working and air lines freezing were some of the most common complaints. Not to mention the difficulty in trying to saw frozen lumber!