For 3PLs, preparing for the holiday rush means getting ahead of potential disasters
Online retailers are in the season of preparing for the shopping frenzy that takes place between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, which means establishing a plan along the supply chain that is designed to meet increased demand. After all, their reputation is at stake. There could be nothing worse for reputation management than assuring on-time delivery that doesn’t arrive on the designated date. The holiday seasons revolves around the calendar, so retailers who make mistakes during these two months are at risk of tarnishing their reputation for the rest of the year.
This is where 3PLs come in. Strengthening relationships with carriers, and creating a strategy with them, can help keep shipments moving without unexpected disruptions. Here are a few ways to ensure a successful holiday season for your customers:
Hire seasonal workers early
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the week before Christmas — These are some of the most frantic shopping times of the year. Which means warehouses and distribution centers need to increase their skilled labor to fulfill orders. Recruiting should take place early so temporary laborers can be trained to pick, pack, and ship products via a variety of carriers and not make any costly mistakes.
Long before those holiday orders start rolling in, your team should assess both your warehouse capacity and supply chain to make any adjustments needed to better manage the year-end rush. Ensure existing inventory is stored in the right location and that available space is ready for new arrivals. If that isn’t the case, scout additional facilities now for temporary storage so your outbound flow is not interrupted. Check your equipment and supplies — For example, do your scanners have enough batteries and holsters? Do everything you can to avoid unnecessary surprises during such a critical time of the year.
Preparing for the holidays is much different than managing your day-to-day operations. For example, strategy sessions need to determine how much warehouse space is required over the seasons and when inventory can arrive to fulfill demand according to your customers’ sales forecasts and special promotions. Establish alternative scenarios if there are disruptions in the supply chain or production delays. Bring in your transport suppliers to establish ways to consolidate freight and to increase capacity when space is tight.
Investing in or modifying your warehouse management system (WMS) to support your picking and packing operations is essential for moving high-volume orders during the year-end rush. Waving is a value-added way to automate the grouping of orders by different criteria: level of priority, destination, customer, product attributes, the time of day or day of the week the orders need to be picked for shipping can all be taken in to account.
What do you do to prepare each holiday season? Give us your tips using the contact form to the right. Visit cadretech.com or call us at (303) 217-7030 to set up a demo or learn more about our warehouse management software and third-party logistics software.