Preparation and organization keep deliveries arriving despite stormy weather

A severe late-March storm hasn’t stopped sodium sulphate deliveries from reaching Saskatchewan Minerals customers.

Last month we told you about the successful raw salt harvest at Saskatchewan Minerals’ Chaplin plant. Now, that product has been stockpiled, processed and loaded into railcars and trucks, and is on its way to our customers across North America. Like the harvest, the delivery process is affected by weather conditions, and like our Chaplin plant team, the Saskatchewan Minerals logistics team must also be efficient and prepared for any situation.

The delivery process begins when a customer places an order. Our team then manages the logistics of ordering empty railcars or trucks for the shipment; the Saskatchewan Minerals plant fills the order and produces a Certificate of Analysis (CoA). From there, the logistics team tracks and monitors the entire journey, until a railcar is emptied on customer siding or a truck carrier provides a delivery receipt.

Flooding, snowstorms and other harsh weather conditions can sometimes delay deliveries. In late March, a spring storm paused orders for two full weeks before the Saskatchewan Minerals railcars could travel safely again. Fortunately, our logistics team makes a practice of anticipating these challenges and forming contingency plans well in advance. General Manager Brent Avery explains, “March is the time of year when we prep for potential flooding in our region and the other regions where our railcars travel. We monitor weather systems and watch for flood alerts across our entire customer base, and top up warehouse inventories before flood season.” This year, the team’s scrutiny paid off. “The late March storm in Saskatchewan made things difficult, but we’re implementing work-around plans to ensure all customers’ needs are met through these weather-related events.”

To ensure customers continue to receive product regardless of the weather conditions, Saskatchewan Minerals has invited clients to update their 90-day rolling requirements so that their needs are understood and met. Saskatchewan Minerals has also increased its lead-time for orders by one week to allow for weather-related delays, and anticipates dropping to a regular lead-time in mid-May.

As vital as weather monitoring and inventory management is, Saskatchewan Minerals knows the key to meeting customer requirements is transparent communication. Brent Avery says, “Whatever challenges may face the Saskatchewan Minerals team, we ensure they never become challenges for our customers. We communicate with our customers so they understand any delays or circumstances that might affect product deliveries and order fulfillment.”