Peak volumes during the holiday season often spike dramatically, reaching 10 to 20 times their normal size. The complexities of the supply chain, crunch in the capacity, and the need for timely delivery add tremendous pressure on shippers during the festive celebrations.
That is why Logistics Managers need to focus on planning and getting ready early for the holiday peak period. Advance preparation for the last-mile delivery management during holidays helps shippers absorb any increase in logistics costs due to a contingency and gives them a competitive advantage.
Listed below are 12 tips for logistics managers to prepare for the holiday delivery peak.
Planning is the key to navigating through the peak period for all logistics providers. It takes year-round planning to ensure the team is adequately prepared for the peak season. By planning ahead to manage customer delivery expectations, logistics managers can prevent unexpected frustrations.
Planning for Increased Manpower Needs:
Logistics managers need to plan for their staffing needs early. They need to decide on the number of shifts they would require to run during the peak holiday season and the number of temporary workers they would need to hire. They also need to think about an incentive plan and bonuses for workers to keep them happy during the increased seasonal workload.
Setting Order Deadlines Ahead of Time:
Logistics Managers should plan to move order deadlines a day or two earlier than the festival day to reduce last-minute stress and set more realistic delivery expectations of customers.
Logistics managers need to ensure that accurate communication is disseminated at all levels and through the entire supply chain. They need to make sure that everyone is aligned to the increased level of activity that requires an increased commitment.
Effective Inventory Handling:
Based on their accumulated knowledge and brand strategy, logistics managers have to precisely forecast the demand for each item during the holiday season and maintain their inventory levels accordingly. Otherwise, they can find themselves surrounded by a pile of unsold goods, leading to issues of reverse logistics. Inventory forecasts should be aligned to marketing and sales strategies for the holiday season.
Effective Supply Chain Management:
Well-built supply chains are important to ensure on-time delivery of orders during the holiday peak. The managers can turn to third-party logistics providers (3PLs) to help fulfil their customer demand.
Offering Alternative Delivery Options:
The ability to choose an alternate delivery option is important to online shoppers. Flexible delivery options, such as access points offer convenient alternatives to home delivery and ensure customer satisfaction throughout the process. This alternative enables busy online customers to choose delivery and returns locations that are convenient to them.
Domestic Transport Capacity:
Logistics managers need to assess and plan their domestic transportation capacity to handle huge volumes in the holiday season. It is also important that they build strong relations with their transportation suppliers to provide additional carrying capacity when space becomes tight during festive times.
Situational Awareness on the Floor:
Awareness of the floor situation in the Distribution Center or your own warehouse is a must for logistics managers during the busy holiday peak. But research indicates that many logistics managers spend at least 60 per cent of their time behind their desks. By spending more time away from the desk, looking out on the floor, and seeing a broken process, production lag or a performance issue with their own eyes can help logistics managers get a different perspective.
Planning for Exceptions:
Logistics managers should consider designating an area for handling exceptions, such as packages that exceed the volume and weight limits of handling equipment, items requiring special handling, and orders that can’t be completed. Handling special cases in their own designated area can keep the regular item deliveries moving swiftly through the holiday rush.
Planning for Contingencies:
Logistics managers need to make contingency plans for outages of 2 to 6 hours or more. They should be able to move orders to other facilities for fulfilment in case of outages. They need to decide which orders and how many orders can be transferred to other facilities.
Use of Efficient Logistics Technology:
During the peak season, some facilities see orders soar multi-fold, but taking a long time to meet the demand and deliver the product is unacceptable. So, if your logistics system isn’t ready for the increase, you’ll face business problems.
That is why logistics managers need to streamline the logistics process using proper logistics technology, such as a transport management system (TMS).
TMS helps store, move, and direct the flow of goods inside a logistics facility to manage the holiday- rush in a better way than manual labour. TMS should integrate with the warehouse management system or the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. TMS should have tools that allow for vehicle tracking and giving notifications of the delivery status along the way.
The delivery problem domain involves a set of warehouse locations, delivery locations, and several delivery vehicles. Planning for the holiday delivery peak while focusing on best practices for holiday logistics execution will ensure less customer dissatisfaction and decreased logistics costs.
An efficient routing and delivery optimization software can provide the best solutions to logistic companies. Are you ready to implement efficient routing and last-mile delivery optimization software to plan your routes quickly and efficiently?