02 Aug The Great HUB Flood
One Tuesday morning last month I got to work early only to find that I couldn’t enter our office park. Tropical Storm Debby had parked herself just to the west of us and two days of thick, steady rain had begun to exceed the storm water handling capacity of our infrastructure.
The entrance to our office park—lower in elevation to the park itself—had become a raging river that would easily have come up to my wheel wells. Within the hour, we had made a makeshift entrance into the rear of the park by cutting the perimeter fence and laying some plywood and gravel on the muddy grass to drive over.
Gradually, HUB personnel found their way around the obstacles and into work. With the rain continuing throughout the day, the question ever present on people’s minds was whether a way back home would still exist at the end of the day.
We were facing an unprecedented situation in the history of our same day shipping guarantee. The local UPS depot was having problems of their own, and they for sure would not be showing up at our dock if they couldn’t get past our entrance. We might not get every package shipped on the same day, but we sure were going to try!
We did have a few things going for us: We have been in the process of deploying satellite warehouses in Las Vegas and Indianapolis, and both of these were called upon to handle whatever they could, which was a great help in keeping our commitment to our customers.
An SUV was sent to the nearest functioning Pizza restaurant to bring back lunch for our intrepid staff. A few of our employees left to deal with rising waters that threatened their homes. The rest of us kept our ears open for any news of increased flooding on roads, calculating the risk if the rain continued.
At the end of the day, we loaded up Vice President Stuart Johnson’s Yukon, the biggest SUV we could come up with, to take what we could to the UPS depot. Then we called it a day.
We felt our way back to our houses, alternately driving through deep puddles or turning around to try another route. Some of us worked late into the night helping neighbors who had flooded homes.
By Wednesday morning, the entrance to our office park was once again passable. The night had passed without much more rain, and things began the slow process of drying out.
Two weeks later, there are still a handful of roads that are under water. Our county had more than 400 homes damaged by flood waters, including one of our employees. But I’m happy to say that there was only one day where our guaranteed same day shipping policy was ever compromised, and even then, we were able to fulfill 80% of our orders on time.
Have a Great Month!
The sun is now shining again over HUB headquarters and we are back to normal. We were only seriously challenged by the weather for that one day. It goes on record as being the one day in the history of our $100 same-day shipping guarantee where we had to invoke the clause in our terms and conditions that allows for events beyond our control.
The role played by our two satellite warehouses in our time of need was a tremendous benefit.
We haven’t been publicizing much about these warehouses because we have been incrementally bringing them online as they become supplied with inventory. Las Vegas has been up and running for more than a year, and Indianapolis was just ready to come online when this event occurred.
Many customers in select industries are already routinely seeing shipments from these locations. Eventually, we plan to have complete inventory out of all three locations to ship from the location that offers the shortest transit time to each of our customers.