D&M Shipping & Materials Leader Mary Lake weighs in on Hurricane Harvey and the far-reaching impact of natural disasters.

When natural disasters strike, many times the ultimate impact isn’t anticipated by places in the country that may naively think they are immune to the longer-term business ramifications. Take Hurricane Harvey for example. It’s hard to imagine that a storm in Texas could impact the Midwest, but when manufacturers of OEM parts rely on plastics that rely on petroleum, and transportation into and out of the region, the ripple effect can be felt hundreds or even thousands of miles away, in countless industries, and for many weeks or even months afterwards. Having conversations to understand and anticipate customers’ needs and commitments is paramount.

While most of the southernmost part of Texas is still assessing flood and high wind damage, and Florida braces for the wrath of Hurricane Irma, much of the impact of Hurricane Harvey is still being considered. Just two days after Harvey hit, the business week began with assessment of inventories and longevity of support with what was already on hand. There were so many chemical and raw material manufacturing facilities that started preparing for Harvey with planned shut downs earlier in the week of August 21st.

Now, two weeks later, many remain closed while others are at partial capacity. Travel embargoes mean materials already produced and ready for transport do not have the facilities available to transport the product out of the Texas region. Empty railcars and other containers are being stopped from returning to the Texas region to replenish the material storage capacities.

As we come to a close of business for this week at D&M Plastics, Burlington IL we have so many things to be thankful for. Everything about Harvey was not good for mankind, beasts, transportation, or manufacturing, and now Irma is poised to wreak further havoc. One silver lining is being able to confirm to your client base that their needs are covered and there won’t be even further loss.

Force Majeure is necessary but negative to growth in market shares. It is our commitment to support our customers to the fullest reasonable measure. After weeks of tough conversations and constant updates, it has turned out to be positive as we move forward without impact at this particular moment. And while that may not be solace to those whose lives have been so disrupted, it’s a small consolation to know that even broader damage and loss were mitigated.

This is not to say everything has been determined to be intact, our industry is subjected to a drastic decrease in material supply plus an increase in transportation times and costs. We are simply saying that every day we can confirm with our client base that their interests are covered is a good day. We attribute our success to keeping an open line of communication, understanding our customers’ needs and commitments and always having them foremost in our minds.

Our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by these historical events. Our best wishes go out to our industry for a swift recovery with everyone’s concentration on the bottom line of our business, our customers’ business, and the consumers’ interests.

Best to all,

Mary Lake
Shipping & Materials Leader
D&M Plastics LLC

With over 40 years of plastics experience, and over 30 years with D&M, Mary Lake excels in anticipating and meeting customers’ needs. As Shipping & Materials Leader, she handles product sourcing and purchasing, develops projections and inventory planning, and supports customers with complete plans and follow-through.