Manufacturers Respond to Catastrophic Hurricanes
While the U.S. has seen two major hurricanes in the last two weeks, we are just halfway through hurricane season. The extent of the impact of Hurricane Harvey, a thousand-year event, and Hurricane Irma is still to be determined, and Hurricane Jose remains a threat in the Atlantic.
Events such as Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma shine light on how integral communication is during a crisis or catastrophe. Dianne Ralston, executive vice president and chief legal officer of TechnipFMC, a MAPI member company with downtown Houston offices and manufacturing facilities south of the city, explains how they are accounting for and keeping their employees safe during this catastrophic event. In their efforts to account for their employees, Ralston states “[t]he hardest thing for us is that each community is isolated [by the flooding], and some have no power or communications.” Confirming employee status is key in crisis management. Moreover, a MAPI study stresses the integral role of communications in a crisis. In that study, nearly three-quarters of company respondents indicated that communication with employees was “very important” in a crisis management plan. The study further underscores the central role electronic communications, specifically text messages and emails, play in company crisis communications. Thus, the loss of power experienced due to these hurricanes compounds the difficulty, as Ralston points out, for companies trying to quickly identify, locate, and communicate with employees during a crisis.
Support from manufacturing companies in response to these catastrophic events is pouring in. CNBC notes that Caterpillar, Inc. is giving $300,000 to the American Red Cross, and sending power generation equipment to the Houston area. Reynolds American Foundation announced in a press release that they have donated $150,000 to the American Red Cross. According to CNN, The Coca-Cola Foundation has pledged $1 million to the Red Cross, Ford Motor Company is donating $100,000 to disaster relief efforts, Microsoft has announced a $100,000 grant to the Red Cross, and Stanley Black & Decker has committed $125,000 for immediate disaster relief and will match employee donations 2 to 1.
The country is waiting to learn the extent of the damage and needed restoration efforts caused by these massive storms. As large energy and transportation hubs have been in the path of destruction, there will be an impact on the U.S. manufacturing sector. Only time will help us project the extent of the impact.