The holiday season is also known as the busiest time of the year for most businesses. Consumers usually stock up on goods and businesses need to implement strategies to ensure that they are able to fulfill consumer demands and that operations run smoothly.
The holiday season tends to bring about major disruptive issues that businesses need to navigate in order to achieve success. The first issue they need to address is driver shortages as there becomes huge demands for product delivery.
The second issue that businesses are usually faced with is a shortage of truck capacity as there is a greater demand for products with customers purchasing more around this time. The third hiccup that organizations must deal with is a change in consumer habits during the holiday season. Consumers have started to embrace online shopping instead of solely relying on retail stores. Not only do businesses need to have more products at hand, but consumers require faster shipping, a better customer experience, and better visibility throughout the delivery process.
6 Things To Improve Logistics Operations
Businesses need to come up with strategies to address some of the issues that they face during the holiday season such as having fewer drivers, reduced truck capacity, and higher consumer demands. Businesses can follow the strategies below in order to prosper during this tough season.
- Start Preparations Early
To better handle holiday shopping habits which always bring about higher product demands, businesses need to begin with planning and making preparations in advance. It is advised that organizations begin with these plans and preparations as soon as they process the last season’s returns. They need to have systems in place for how operations during the holiday season will be managed, by September.
- Hire Seasonal Workers
As a business, you will need to hire more workers during the holiday to assist with a greater workload. You might consider making your current staff work overtime, but this won’t be able to fulfill demands and the overtime you will incur will also be overwhelming. The most cost-effective method would be to hire more employees which will help you meet customer needs while saving overtime costs.
Hiring more employees will ensure that your current staff members are not being strained and put under pressure. This will likely improve their motivation and productivity levels. Temporary employees you should consider hiring are pickers, packers, and warehouse managers. This will lead to smoother operations and an improvement in customer service and fulfillment.
- Train Workers
Though it is important to have more staff at hand during the holiday season, they need to go through training to ensure that they understand how the business operates as well as how to handle equipment that they need to use during their shifts. Workers might not be familiar with the software and hardware so training greatly improves this and boosts productivity and efficiency.
Training that you should prioritize includes how to package products and how to calculate costs. You can also offer more training regarding stress management and how employees can better interact with one another in the workplace. Failing to train employees adequately can lead to order and inventory backlogs which creates more problems for the business.
- Rely on Technology
Online training is just one of the ways that businesses can make use of technology within the warehouse. Another way is by making use of Warehouse Management Software (WMS) which can assist with the management of warehouse operations making them smoother and more efficient. WMS offers many benefits such as real-time visibility of inventory which ensures that you have updates regarding stock levels. It will assist in making decisions such as re-ordering inventory before it runs out and updating customers so that they don’t order products that are not available.
You can also make use of cloud-based blockchain technology which helps manage the entire supply chain aiding it to perform at peak capacity at all times. It is advised not to introduce new technologies during the holiday, but rather during the returns period as it will be difficult to implement them properly during this time.
- Prioritize Maintenance
You and your staff should check that all machinery and storage units are in good condition. This will help you avoid disasters that could occur due to faulty machinery. It is always advised to carry out repairs and replacements early so as to avoid incurring costs that might occur when disaster strikes during the holiday period.
- Work on Your Returns Process
Customer returns are very big during the holiday season and you need to ensure that operations need to become more efficient in order to give customers better service. Businesses need to invest in a smooth operating call center that will be able to assist customers with questions they have regarding order status, updates, returns, and exchanges. The more efficient this process of returns and replacement is, the quicker they will be able to resell some products that were returned in good condition. Delays in this process will increase inventory holding costs and customers will experience delays in their credits – leading to bad customer service.
You should prepare your warehouse for the spike it will experience during the holiday season by hiring more staff, improving warehouse operations, and making use of technology. Investing in all these things will increase customer satisfaction which is important nowadays as a negative customer experience could impact your business negatively in the long run.