UPS warehouse fire leaves FL clients empty-handed

Dive Brief:

  • A fire in a UPS distribution center in Hialeah, FL has left package recipients hanging, News Local 10 reported Friday. The fire began in the early Wednesday, March 15, when much of the east coast was enduring winter storm Stella.
  • As a result, American Plumbing & Electrical Supply has not received its usual Friday delivery, resulting in countless parts holdups for clients downstream. The company notes the parts slated for delivery by UPS were unique, and cannot be alternatively sourced.
  • The UPS policy on situations of this type involve rerouting, but access to the packages remaining in the warehouse must remain untouched until officially released by the fire marshall.

Dive Insight:

When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight ... it may not be. At least when natural disasters or fires intervene, according to UPS and FedEx.

Both companies include disclaimers regarding "Uncontrollable Events" on their websites, wherein the service guarantee is revoked in the case of fires or natural disasters. Although the sites do provide updates, neither offers any alternatives when deliveries are withheld due to disruptions. As both logistics providers remain at the mercy of local fire chiefs, so too are their clients, even when the fire is deemed accidental and no injuries have occurred. 

For its part, Amazon does not seem to address the issue on its website, though as it continues to make headway as a logistics provider it will no doubt be called upon to do so.

The supply shortage endured by American Plumbing & Electrical Supply shows how unexpected disruptions at the logistics stage can lead to shortages throughout the chain. For now, the company has no choice but wait to receive the parts, although new technologies like 3-D printing promise a long-term solution to this issue.

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Filed Under: Logistics Operations
Top image credit: Deviant Art/Rexem