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Hidden costs of snowstorms: 6 ways businesses can optimize operations

NYC in the middle of a snowstorm


Snowstorms are costly to both businesses and communities - implementing strategic measures can minimize disruptions and maintain productivity even in the harshest weather conditions.

Key Highlights

Snow can result in lost sales, unexpected costs and supply chain disruptions.

A single-day shutdown in New York costs over $700 million.

Key winter strategies include investing in weather-resilient infrastructure, remote work policies and supply chain diversification.

As winter approaches, businesses need to prepare for the challenges of snow and ice storms to maintain seamless operations. They can cause lost sales, unexpected costs and disruptions in supply chains, among other things. However, with the correct information and tools, businesses can make efficient decisions to minimize disruptions and optimize their operations. Implementing strategic measures can minimize disruptions and maintain productivity even in the harshest weather conditions.  

>>READ MORE: WINTER DANGERS: Accumulating heavy snow increases the risks of roof collapse

The impact of snowstorms on businesses 

Snowstorms can have a significant impact on businesses, especially small businesses. They can cause disruptions in supply chains, power outages, and transportation issues, among other things. According to a study by IHS Global Insight, a major storm with "impassable" roads could have a significant economic impact with just a one-day shutdown. The research showed that a single day's shutdown in New York costs about $700.17 million, while Massachusetts loses about $265.12 million.

Investing in timely snow removal pays off economically in the long run. Despite concerns about upfront costs and budget constraints, the economic impact of snow-related closures outweighs the expense of proactive measures - like AccuWeather’s Snow Warning Service. Decision-makers should adopt a forward-thinking approach to planning for snow removal strategies. 

The indirect economic impacts extend through the local economy, affecting retailers and their employees. Understanding these impacts becomes crucial for businesses to navigate the complex economic landscape following a snow-related shutdown.

Strategies to navigate winter’s challenges

The best way businesses can protect their people, property, and profits during the winter is by utilizing AccuWeather’s Snow Warning Service. However, there are several strategies to help companies navigate the challenges this winter. 

  • Weather-Resilient Infrastructure: Investing in weather-resilient infrastructure is crucial. Ensure your premises have de-icing systems, sturdy roofs, and reliable heating to prevent structural damage and maintain a safe working environment.
  • Remote Work Policies: Establish remote work policies, allowing employees to work from the safety of their homes during extreme weather. Utilize cloud-based collaboration tools to maintain communication and workflow continuity.
  • Supply Chain Diversification: Diversify your supply chain to minimize the impact of weather-related disruptions. Identify alternative suppliers and distribution channels, ensuring a consistent flow of goods and services even when specific routes are impassable.
  • Fleet Management Solutions: Implement advanced fleet management solutions to monitor and optimize transportation during snowstorms. Equip vehicles with snow tires and train drivers on safe winter driving practices.
  • Communication Channels: Maintain open and clear communication channels with employees, clients, and suppliers. Utilize social media, email, and other digital platforms to provide real-time updates on operational status, delays, and alternative arrangements.
  • Backup Power Systems: Invest in reliable backup power systems to ensure continuous operations in case of power outages. This is especially critical for businesses that rely heavily on electronic equipment and technology.

Proper preparations can also open up opportunities for increased sales. For example, it would allow retailers to properly position shovels and salt. It would also allow retailers to make sure they have enough inventory.

Virtually Eliminate the Risk of Being Surprised by Snow and Ice

To make the best decisions every time, you need the Superior Accuracy™ of AccuWeather's Snow Warning Service™. Study after study shows that AccuWeather provides the most accurate, precise, and detailed forecasts, which give you an exclusive umbrella of protection. 

Independent studies show that AccuWeather’s forecasts are significantly more accurate and more valuable than all other sources. Last winter, AccuWeather’s average error for start and end times for snow and ice was just 1½ hours compared to an average error of more than 3 hours from other sources.

Get Started Now

Is your business ready for winter? 

Learn more about AccuWeather's Snow Warning Service today.