"Hurricane season brings a humbling reminder that, despite our technologies, most of nature remains unpredictable." - Diane Ackerman
Without a doubt, nature put us on a roller coaster ride this past week. On Monday, August 21, we were in awe over a solar eclipse. By the following Monday, a category 4 hurricane was devastating the Texas (and then later, Louisiana's) coastline. Hurricane Harvey’s mercurial temperament made tracking the storm and any logistical planning of its hit extremely difficult. Harvey went from a cluster of thunderstorms, to a tropical storm that nearly died out, and then, rejuvenated itself into something the United States has not seen in more than a decade: a catastrophic event with more than 50 inches of rain and wind speeds reaching 130 mph.
DIS-TRAN Packaged Substations' team of project managers met days prior to the storm and frequently after Harvey made landfall to discuss the storm's impact on ongoing substation projects. Meeting discussions included preparations for worst-case scenarios and how to get ahead of potential problems. “We can’t control the storm. But what we can control is how we respond,” says DIS-TRAN Packaged Substations’ Vice President of Engineering and Design, Frank Camus. “Our meetings open up the line of communication so we can prep our project managers. They in return can better communicate with our customers about how Harvey could potentially impact their substation projects.”
Electrical manufacturers across the country began preparing for Hurricane Harvey last week. Their parts and products are in demand to restore storm-ravaged regions of the Gulf Coast. As of Thursday, August 31, at 10:00 AM, there were more than 200,000 outages across Texas.
DIS-TRAN’s project managers are staying in close contact with our vendors and suppliers. “Obviously the main priority will be disaster recovery. As it should be,” explains Camus. “This will just mean that some of the shipments to our factory could be stalled.”
As of right now, DIS-TRAN has not heard of any part delays from any of our suppliers. However, once the water recedes, companies will have a better idea of how much product is needed and where to send it. DIS-TRAN is already prepping for that possibility of part shortages once Harvey recovery efforts are in full swing.
Our Project Support Service Center logistics team is working hard at managing space within our factory. Harvey’s left two future substation sites in Texas underwater. Though the factory-built substations are complete and are ready to ship, DIS-TRAN will continue to house the pre-fabricated structures until our customers’ site locations are clear of water.
“DIS-TRAN always strives to keep projects moving forward seamlessly, and one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal is field marshaling,” says Brad Fontenot, Vice President of Project Support Services at DIS-TRAN. Our warehouse gives us an enormous degree of flexibility with projects. We can store project materials and equipment as needed. It is why DIS-TRAN has long invested in its own warehousing facility. “Efficiency is a driving force for DIS-TRAN so that when a force of nature, like Hurricane Harvey hits, logistical headaches are not a problem for our customers. Their focus can be on recovery and relief,” says Camus.