How on-site advisors help ensure business resilience

James Shapland
Transport Operations Manager

Contents

A key part of my role as Operations Manager involves working on-site across a range of industries. This doesn’t just enable me and other on-site teams to better understand our customers’ immediate requirements – it brings countless other benefits too.

Tailored forecasting

Getting to know the climatology of my customers’ location is the first major benefit of working on-site. It means I can create a much more relevant forecast. Starting with the general UK weather picture provided by my colleagues in Exeter, I’ll fine-tune it for local specifics.

For example, if I’m working at an airport, I’ll pay particular attention to weather that affects flight schedules. These include strong winds, fog or the possibility of thunderstorms. On an oil rig in the North Sea, the focus will be on wind speed and wave heights.

Whether customers are out at sea or on dry land, getting tailored forecasts empowers them to make informed decisions. This, in turn, means a better understanding of schedules and impacts on them. It means their staff and the members of the public they’re serving stay safe and happy. And a tailored forecast can even save money – because business disruption is kept to an absolute minimum.

Faster response

If we’re on-site, we can provide on-the-spot information to help customers’ teams mitigate the effects of adverse weather a lot more quickly. And we can do it when it matters most.

A big sports event, for instance, can be ruined by a sudden downpour. If there, we can advise the organiser in person to put a roof over the venue – or delay the event altogether. Or we can suggest providing additional drinking water if it’s going to be exceptionally hot. In an aviation context, we can also reduce the impact of weather on flight schedules by advising civil airlines or military operators to bring flights in earlier or consider cancellations.

Building trust

One of the main advantages of working on-site is how well you get to know the host organisation. We live and breathe what they do. We can talk them through our forecasts – and give them much more confidence in their short-term decision-making.

And we can also be part of the conversation when it comes to long-term strategic planning. Let’s say a customer is considering a major investment but doesn’t know the implications of climate change. We’re there in person to explain the likely effects of a temperature rise – or how severe storms might impact operations. We can also introduce customers to our team of scientists and climate experts when they need specialist information or advice.

Gaining an edge

Occurrences of adverse weather are becoming more frequent which can be a real financial or reputational headache for some of our customers.

Having an on-site meteorologist can make all the difference when it comes to protecting them against things going wrong. It also offers the advantage of being able to check local conditions first-hand, then making on-the-spot updates to their forecast throughout the day. With more accurate information like this on their side, our customers can put the right equipment or staff in place. And this gives them a greater chance of overcoming operational challenges caused by weather events.

Looking to the future

As our weather models become more and more accurate and we are faced with increasingly detailed weather data, having an expert in your team who can interpret that data and give you the best weather advice becomes even more invaluable.

Without it, making fast and effective business decisions is much more challenging. Seeing the tangible benefits our forecasts and advice bring to our customers is why we do it.

I’ll never forget the day I was working at an airport and forecast snow. I stood at the window with the Operations Director and we watched, in silence, as the rain turned to sleet, then to snow – just at the time I’d predicted. But the snowploughs were already on the runway. They were fully prepared. The Director turned to me, smiled, and said, “Bang on”.

It’s days like that I know we make a real difference.

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