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With El Niño Promising More Snow and Ice This Winter, Facility Managers Should Prepare Now

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

In today’s fast-paced business environment, addressing day-to-day needs and immediate challenges often takes priority over preparing for seasonal changes. But with an El Niño weather pattern on the way, now is the time to shift start planning for the upcoming winter season and how it will impact your business.

According to the weather experts, certain parts of the U.S. are headed for a colder and wetter winter than normal, which equates to a higher likelihood of snow and ice. This is due in large part to El Niño – a climate phenomenon characterized by weakened trade winds over the equatorial Pacific Ocean and subsequent warming of sea surface temperatures. Its effects can be felt across the U.S. and even globally.

Kevin Hopler, a Senior Meteorologist at WeatherWorks, which provides commercial weather services, said that based on historical weather patterns, El Niño will be a disruptive force this winter.

“History can be a great indicator of what to expect in the future in terms of weather events,” Hopler said. “Our models indicate we are moving out of a three-year La Niña period and into a significant El Niño pattern. In the past, this type of shift has caused excess snowfall and icy conditions along the East Coast, in the Mid-Atlantic region, and parts of the lower Midwest and the Southeast. That is what we are predicting to happen this winter. Regardless of your location, it is important to remember that Mother Nature can be unpredictable and could yield different possibilities this winter.”

For more information, including of weather map, check out WeatherWorks’ first winter preview.

Planning for snow and ice removal this winter is a key part of proactive facility management and can reinforce a company’s brand commitment to safety and reliability. Here are three reasons why facility managers should finalize their winter exterior maintenance plan well in advance, especially with El Nino on the way.  

Cost Savings

The first major benefit of locking in snow removal services now is the opportunity to reap major cost savings. Consider the difference in the cost of a winter coat in June as opposed to January. The same rationale applies to snow removal services: Waiting until the first snowfall leaves your business susceptible to peak season prices that often accompany last-minute requests, especially during periods of increased demand.

National vendors like KBS leverage its national scale and vast network of supply-chain connections to secure optimal pricing on bulk materials and equipment like salt, ice-melting chemicals, snowblowers, and snowplow equipment. Beginning winter preparations in advance allows opportunity for early-bird savings, which translates to tangible cost savings for your facilities. Plus, allocating financial and logistical resources becomes more effective when planned systematically.

According to Ray Smith, VP of Exterior and Trade Services for KBS, being proactive about your facilities’ snow removal needs can save an average of 8% in your overall facility budget. “We encourage all current and prospective clients to evaluate their snow removal needs and establish a plan.”

Availability of Reputable Service Providers

Snow removal providers with a strong track record of reliability, transparency, and responsive service typically book up quickly. As winter grows closer, these reputable vendors will have increasingly limited availability. Avoid settling for a snow removal company that may struggle to service your facility when you need them the most.

In addition to technology, reputable providers should have a strong bench of reliable and qualified service crews. For example, over the last year, KBS has significantly grown its team of Exterior Service operations managers to keep pace with an increase of clients (the company now manages more than 7,000 exterior locations nationwide). These managers oversee lead regional teams to ensure quality services delivery.

Peace of Mind

Proactively securing a snow removal partner can be likened to obtaining a winter insurance policy, providing peace of mind against the inevitability of snowfall and ice. These conditions have the potential to create safety issues and negatively impact brand perceptions if not properly addressed. With a trusted vendor in place, however, you do not have to worry about it. For example, KBS proactively manages its client locations, making sure sidewalks and parking lots are cleared of snow and ice on a regular basis. The company also provides clients with transparency through a proprietary technology called KBS SnowMap, which shows, among other things, locations being cleared in real-time. The technology is being provided free for clients who sign up for KBS snow removal services.

With an El Niño pattern emerging, facility managers should initiate early preparations for the winter seasons, including locking down a snow removal vendor now. This proactive approach offers the advantages of cost savings, access to trustworthy providers, and peace of mind. By acting promptly, you will be prepared to navigate whatever the winter brings, ensuring your business operates smoothly with minimal disruption. Reach out to KBS today for a snow removal quote.