The silly season is here and retailers across South Africa are gearing up for their busiest time of year with the hope of big sales, new customers and broadening brand awareness. At this time of year, shopper’s patience tolerances are lower than ever and retailers and suppliers must step up their supply chains and distribution networks to meet delivery expectations.

Increased Shopping Channels

Shopping is no longer what it used to be and consumers are increasingly using ecommerce to fill their Christmas stockings. Today’s customers are more demanding, wanting lower costs, increased control and more delivery options at the speed of Santa’s sleigh. This effects the entire supply chain – from manufacturers and retailers to logistics providers. Let’s take a look at ways to gear up to ensure on-time, efficient delivery.

Plan ahead

Somehow the holiday season creeps up on us, so planning ahead is vital. Months in advance be sure that you have a core team of experienced people in place to consider all aspects of the planning process. The companies who fare best in the peak season are the those who have assessed their logistics procedures, made the necessary improvements and have taken advantage of technological advances.

New Technologies

Logistics companies need to leverage new technologies to improve delivery efficiency. Through the use of the latest mobile apps and real-time data tools, supply chain partners are able to instantly select the appropriate delivery method that will be the fastest, most cost-effective and convenient. Customised logistics software and visibility are vital to keep track of the constant movement of stock across multiple warehouses during the busy months.

Consider 3PL

Use data from the last few years as a preparation tool for this season. Assess your needs, whether it be warehousing space, casual labour or additional transport needs, and consider whether outsourcing to a third party logistics provider (3PL) might be worthwhile. By partnering with experts in fields such as transport management and warehousing solutions you can harness their knowledge, expertise and resources without incurring inhouse costs.

Open Communication

With the larger capacity requirements, effective communication is critical to keep track of both outgoing and incoming deliveries because, with increased sales there are also many returns to deal with. New technologies simplify communication between all members of the supply chain so that companies can be alerted should something go wrong. Through effective tracking and communication, problems can be easily recognised and quickly resolved. Retailers, suppliers and distribution houses need to work together to keep customers smiling.

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