Autumn is here, but we know what that means in the Rocky Mountain and High Plains region....winter is right around the corner. Many areas have already experienced their first snow, frost and hard freeze! With winter weather comes specific challenges to not only communities, but businesses, large and small.
Winter weather varies depending on the region, but for Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska, wind and snow accumulation are probably some of the more likely problems between October and March, even April and May!
Let's talk about some of the more common impacts winter weather can create for businesses.
1. Delayed transportation and the delivery of goods
This part of the country is a vital artery for the safe and reliable transportation of goods and services. Snow, wind and blowing snow are the three main weather variables that can stop a business in its tracks without warning. Interstates and highways stay open as long as they can, but the unpredictable nature of accidents, wrecks and pileups can create blockages in business deadlines and expectations. The movement of vehicles, products and services means money, and time IS money. When traffic comes to a hault, or when vital roadways are closed for an extended period of time, money is lost.
In the Rocky Mountain area and High Plains, it's not just snow amounts or snow accumulation that matters - it's often more about wind. Strong winds with less than 2 inches of snow can easily create blizzard conditions and freeze road surfaces rapidly. Higher snowfall amounts with less wind is generally more manageable by plows and snow-clearing services.
When paying attention to a weather forecast specific to your area and planning your optimal time for transportation, make sure you know all the important variables that could create delays or hazards on the road ahead.
2. Energy and labor costs can increase
Winter weather usually means, higher costs. Generally, more energy is needed to supply the necessary conditions for working. Often times, more labor is needed as well, due to higher impacts for businesses that conduct work or services in an outdoor environment. All of this usually leads to more labor, and ultimately a higher cost. Specifically for outdoor-focused businesses, like construction, agriculture, farming, transportation, etc...the issue of safety becomes more of a concern. An increase in unsafe conditions will increase potential cost, and could lead to unfortunate and unforeseen costs.
Business can plan ahead to prevent surprise costs with long-range forecasts and outlooks on seasonal trends.
3. Less productivity
With winter weather impacts creating more delays in the transportation of goods and services and overall increasing business costs, the final outcome could be a natural (sometimes unavoidable) loss in productivity. Also, it is common during severe (and sometimes long-term) winter weather events for general sales and revenue to go down simply because people are moving around less, staying home and not making purchases. The kicker here is, this can happen for both low impact and high impact winter weather events. The psychology of people is generally to hunker down and wait out a snow, wind or blowing snow event. Businesses can capitalize on this by knowing enough details about t he forecast to either plan ahead or use it for situational/event marketing purposes.
Now, we would love to hear from you.
Is your business affected by winter weather?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!