Being ready operationally for the holiday season can be the difference in your profitability for the entire year - you do not want to miss out on the more than $3 trillion stimuli that consumers will put into the economy during the Christmas rush. Here are some vetted tips to make sure that your logistics are fully prepared for it.
Locking in Your Fulfillment
If you have more than one brick and mortar retail store, it is essential more than ever during the holiday season to figure out the direction that your products will be going in. This can be quite difficult without the right logistics partner because the window for movement and the range from making a mistake is much smaller.
In order to ensure that you get the right products to the right locations, you should take stock of as much location-specific data as possible for past quarters and holiday seasons. Make sure that your inventory for each store moves according to the data so that you will not miss opportunities for increased sales.
Using 3PL Partners
During the holiday season, your supply chain must be smooth and efficient. One delivery that is off by just a little can completely throw off your schedule for the entire holiday season, which is already compact by nature. The best way to ensure that your supply chain has the proper controls to ensure efficiency within a verifiable range is through 3PL partnerships. This helps to ensure the compliance of the vendor, and even if there is a problem with one partition of the chain, your inventory can be rerouted expeditiously.
Locking in Transportation Capacity
One of the most important aspects of securing your inventory to specific locations is to lock down the space that you will need on the transportation carriers. As mentioned before, a 3PL partner with some clout will be able to help you in this endeavor, but the final tally comes down to your assessments and estimations. You should find out as far in advance as possible about how much transportation you will need both domestically and internationally.
Bringing in Seasonal Workers
Once you have created the appropriate supply chain for your distribution, you must ensure that your products will be properly handled and sold at their destination points. Your calculations for a rise in seasonal employees may also benefit from a location specific analysis. In most cases, you will be able to directly connect the estimates for your inventory and the number of new seasonal workers that you will need for each location.
Having the right number of employees is not enough, however. These employees need to be properly trained beforehand, so make sure that you account for the training time as you bring them in. You should also calculate in a "mistake rate" for your inventory – assume that a certain percentage of your products will somehow become damaged or less usable because of a higher instance of human error from the seasonal workers.
During the holiday season, you need a logistics partner that understands the ins and outs of the timing and special distribution efforts that are necessary to ensure that you maximize profit. The holiday season is usually the most important season of the year for most businesses, so make sure that you pick the partner with the vetted experience that you can trust. Leave as little as you can to chance – use your data as much as possible to ensure the most effective supply chain that you can.