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Storm Response Sparked New Lessons

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The response to Hurricane Sandy was an eye-opener for retailers, associations and the entire food industry, with plenty of lessons for future crises, said a panel of industry leaders at a Midwinter session here.

Regional leaders faced daunting challenges in coordinating logistics and communicating to stakeholders. While some had faced prior crises, there was really no full preparation for a storm of that magnitude, they said.

Following are some of the lessons learned by panelists, who included James Rogers, president and CEO, Food Industry Alliance of New York; Linda Doherty, president, New Jersey Food Council; Mitch Klein, vice president, Government Relations and Retail Services, Krasdale Foods, and Mike Ambrosio, vice president, Quality Assurance Division, Wakefern Food Corp.

• Business must take care of itself in this type of crisis, because the first priority of government is area residents rather than businesses.

Read more: FMI Foundation Renews Commitment

• Build relationships with parties such as utility companies in advance, because some of these parties fail to become directly involved in high-level crisis discussions with government and businesses at the time of a catastrophe.

• Obtain all contact information from employees in advance so you know where they are during a crisis.

• Learn to respond to  "reactionary legislation and regulations" that follow a crisis, because some of it can be very poorly conceived.

• Stay up to date on the current point persons at the state government level, because these can change frequently.

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