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A Lesson in Teamwork: Bringing our Miami Facility Back Online in the Wake of Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma was perhaps one of the most devastating hurricanes ever to hit the U.S. and its neighboring islands, with an estimated death toll of 70, historic destruction across Florida and massive havoc throughout the Atlantic region. More than 6.8 million people are still without power, buildings and homes have been decimated, many businesses continue to be shut down, and the road to recovery will not be easy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted.

 

With many employees based in Florida and one of our key distribution hubs located in Miami, ModusLink was directly impacted by Irma. We prepared for the worst and took aggressive actions to ensure the safety of our employees, protect our facility and limit disruptions to our customers. Most importantly, we are happy to report that everyone is okay, however, our facility did incur some structural damage, there was massive flooding in surrounding areas and power outages that interrupted our systems for a few days.

The past few weeks leading up to and following Irma have been a whirlwind though one event, in particular, stands out and we wanted to take this opportunity to share it as a true example of best-practices, collaboration and our endless commitment to enabling our clients to achieve their objectives.

Our Miami facility services two of our largest clients, both of whom have been extremely sympathetic and supportive, putting our safety above their needs, which is a testament to human kindness and the relationships we have established. Between September 5th and 7th, we had various teams come together to pull in production demand and orders to avoid delays in critical shipments for these customers and as of September 8th, our site was on full lockdown as Irma made its way towards South Florida.

On September 11th, after Irma passed through South Florida, the local team began their initial assessment, contacting utilities, vendors, and employees to determine the full impact. While our facility made it through the storm, there was no power, a significant amount of debris, and major obstructions in roadways. By September 13th, many of these issues still remained, but progress had been made, power was restored and our facility re-opened for business.

Network connectivity, however, remained a major obstacle. Together, our North American IT team and global infrastructure teams worked around the clock to develop remediation plans as we could not start full production without it.

On September 12th, we learned of a firewall failure that would require new equipment, which was to be shipped overnight. However, with UPS, FedEx, and other shipping services still experiencing heavy backlog and transportation issues, this could not be guaranteed. Both large customers affected by this shutdown offered their full support, but we took it upon ourselves to ensure that we could resume operations in a timely manner. One employee on the quality and engineering team took it upon himself to hand deliver the new firewall equipment, driving the replacement technology from Nashville to Miami overnight. The new firewall equipment was installed immediately allowing operations, both boxing, and DC, to be up and running again.

While personal safety remains paramount, in times of crisis, the global network of ModusLink employees remain committed to the recovery and success of each facility and our customers. Our thoughts remain with everyone in Florida, Texas and all other regions impacted by recent natural disasters.

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