The effects of Hurricane Katrina are widespread and tragic. Many of our family, friends and business contacts have suffered tremendously. While there are no quick and easy solutions for repairing damaged lives, Southwire Company and the larger Carroll County community pulled together.
Before we could focus on the Gulf Coast, Southwire provided relief to more than 30 families in Carroll County who were hit by tornadoes spawned by Katrina. The day after the tornadoes hit, Southwire provided lunches for 75 volunteers working to clear debris. Southwire donated a tractor-trailer that was used as a drop-zone for all sorts of provisions, and Southwire employees and neighbors turned out to help each other.
Southwire took a community-to-community approach to help the Gulf Coast region, focusing primarily on Gulfport, Bay St. Louis and Biloxi, Mississippi. On Wednesday, Aug. 31, much-needed donations began pouring in to the drop boxes placed in Southwire's manufacturing facilities. A two-day collection drive involved the Carrollton community, and the response was overwhelming. Three tractor-trailers were filled with non-perishable food, water, clothing, bedding, toys, toiletries, pet food and cleaning supplies. Donors also opened their wallets. From checks in the thousands of dollars to children emptying their piggy banks to an eighth-grader donating $120 he had saved for a family outing, Carrollton residents contributed more than $15,000 to help storm victims.
The three trucks headed to Gulfport on Thursday, Sept. 8. With firsthand knowledge of where supplies were needed most, Mississippi Power generously donated time through its Family Services Group to get the items directly into the hands of area residents. Southwire continues to provide meals and collect supplies for evacuees from the Gulf Coast housed in local shelters.
Southwire Focuses on Power Recovery
Southwire drew upon its 55-year history of responding to storm emergencies to prepare for Katrina. Our operations initiatives began several days before the hurricane hit, as we tracked its path and prepared for the inevitable power outages and increased demand.
A Storm Response Planning Team was formed with the mandate to make certain “Southwire produces storm-specific products for rapid delivery to effected utilities, while minimizing service disruptions to non-effected customers.” During the twice-daily assessment and evaluation meetings, key managers of production, logistics and customer service have coordinated to adapt to the daily changes.
To support the need for overhead wire and cable, existing manufacturing capacity shifted production prior to Katrina's landfall and our factories worked through the Labor Day holiday. In addition, some surplus manufacturing equipment was quickly reconditioned and staffed, allowing us to run additional coiling machines and other overhead cable-specific machinery. Katrina impacted the flow of raw materials, challenging the Southwire sourcing team to find new traffic lanes and delivery methods.
In the nine days immediately following Katrina's strike, Southwire shipped more than 90 truckloads (3500 miles of cable) of storm response material and had plans to ship 140-plus truckloads (5500 miles of cable) within the first three weeks.
As power is being restored and recovery continues, we will focus on fulfilling the demand for electrical wire and cable products. Southwire will continue to provide dedicated service to our loyal customers. We have taken steps to ensure that inventory levels are available to support the needs and appropriate priority is given to specific orders that are needed to rebuild the damaged infrastructure.