The holiday season is a busy time for
businesses and shippers and can cause many challenges when it comes to managing
a supply chain. The peak season of
delivery, which represents almost 20 percent of the annual revenue of the
retail industry, can be both a blessing and a curse. Although the holiday season
normally starts on Black Friday, the earlier you start preparing, the higher
the chances are to successfully survive the busy season.
There is no such thing as “too early”
when it comes to holiday shipping preparation. Start setting the strategy in
advance, rethinking all the possible drawbacks and difficulties you might face.
Take a look back at the prior year or at your competitors’ strategy and make
proper adjustments and improvements to your strategy that could help benefit your
Packing and operations
The holiday season makes managing the supply chain difficult because precise
attention to details is required. Nobody wants to receive broken or damaged
items for Christmas, so make sure you have enough packing equipment so that
your shipments will be delivered safely. Another fundamental point to think
about is operations. Figuring out if everything works smoothly is crucial to
avoid unwanted disruptions during inappropriate times.
Big data analysis and forecasting
Knowledge of what your customers want can help make holiday preparation less
stressful than blindly trying to outline a plan without any specifications. Use
automated tools and customer management systems to collect and analyze
information. The use of data will help your company forecast which products
in high demand during the holiday season.
and partners questions
amounts of orders during the holiday season puts a lot of pressure on
operational departments. It is a smart idea for companies to hire additional
staff, if needed, during the holiday season to help improve efficiency. FedEx and UPS are practicing
seasonal hiring every year. UPS is going to additionally hire around 95,000
people this year and FedEx will hire around 55,000 people this year. Some
companies, like Walmart, apart from hiring seasonal workforce offer extra hours
for current employees to increase operations efficiency. Also, don’t forget to
make sure all of your logistics partners like 3PL providers and suppliers are
aware of your plans and strategies to avoid misunderstandings.
Strategy for last minute
Even with an excellent plan A, there should always be a plan B to cover
your back. Survey shows that 77 percent of customers are planning to do last
minute holiday shopping, and all of them expect to receive their orders on
time. Large enterprises like Amazon and Walmart handle the problem by offering
the buy-online-pick-in-store model, when shippers purchase online and pick
their order in the nearest brick-and-mortar store. Small businesses should
prepare for the last day of shopping season by triple checking of all the
systems and planning ahead inventory and staff needs.
Define deadlines clearly
There are many ways for businesses to avoid unexpected
delays during the holiday season. Make
sure you have discussed the final dates of sales with your team, business
partners and specified it for the customers. Provide your shipping deadlines in
advance will eliminate confusion among customers and take a lot of stress off of
your company. It may be done in many different ways including a website banner,
in-cart reminder or even direct emails. The main point is the widest audience
reach to make the deadlines as clear as possible.
practices will significantly reduce the pressure, stress, and expenses during
the peak season of shipping and will lead to decreased returns, satisfied
customers and more profit.