Now that summer is upon us and the days are getting longer, you can enjoy evenings on the porch and all those outdoor activities you’ve been looking forward to all winter. While you should take the time to enjoy the warmer seasons, a logistics professional or retail manager like you must also look ahead to the holiday season, making plans for the onrush of business that Christmas inevitably brings.
The point is: it’s never too early to start planning ahead for the holiday season. Setting yourself up for success during the summer months will mean that you’ll be a step ahead of the competition and ready for any surprises that might come your way.
Keep Your Supply Chain Moving During Holiday Surge
Interested in quantifying exactly how much business this means for retail? Holiday sales can account for approximately 20% of the industry’s annual sales. Keeping your supply chain moving during the holiday surge is crucial for your business during this time. Otherwise, the missed opportunities could have a devastating impact on profitability and leave you scrambling for business that just isn’t there during the slower months.
Such a high-volume of shipping orders can disrupt even the most prepared of operations, causing problems to snowball across the supply chain. Every year it seems that consumers begin hunting for deals earlier and earlier, putting a strain on retailers to gain their business. This can result in a serious inventory issue for retailers if the appropriate levels aren’t stocked, leaving vendors with empty shelves and the pain of missed opportunities.
Adapt When Crisis Strikes
Though shipment delays inevitably happen, they can be resolved quickly when working with a logistics partner that has the resources and capabilities to adapt when crisis strikes. If you’re a third-party logistics company that is prepared ahead of time, you can adapt to surges in deliveries well before and during the holiday season, rescuing clients from bad situations and gaining more business in the process.
Accurately forecasting sales is crucial in order to ensure merchandise is kept in stock during a time when retailers cannot afford to be without in-demand products. Retailers must do their best to predict the customer’s purchasing habits, as the cost of not having those desired products will directly affect the bottom line. Don’t fall by the wayside as other businesses thrive, especially when there is so much money moving around.
One thing you can do to prepare is to gather information on your customer’s purchasing behavior and perform a competitive analysis before placing your holiday orders. Then, you can take these learnings and share them with your logistics partner. That way you’re preparing them for any spikes in orders and deliveries you might experience throughout the season.
Communicate with Your Logistics Partner
Communication issues also arise during the holidays. Sometimes It takes only one missed message or miscommunicated instruction to interrupt an entire supply chain. Falling behind on one order leads to mishaps on other orders, making your team play catch-up when they should be helping customers. When you implement protocols into your system that make it nearly impossible to lose or misunderstand messages, you’re ensuring that your team responds to every order promptly and responsibly.
As you well know, weather is a huge factor during the holiday season. Responsible businesses always have a plan B (and a plan C) ready to go in case a blizzard ices over the highways. Whatever it is, coordinating contingency plans with your logistics partner is one of the smartest things you can do during the holidays.
To effectively respond to all these issues (and any other problems that might present themselves), it is vitally important to be prepared well in advance of the holidays. By identifying possible problems and walking through the steps necessary to address them, you’re setting yourself and your team up for success. When the holiday rush is over, and you see how much better your business faces crises, you’ll thank yourself.