Customers want their packages delivered ASAP; there’s no two ways about it. But in a season that has gift giving at its core, customers are far less forgiving about not receiving their goods on time, and no one is immune.
In fact, last year FedEx came under fire for failing to deliver packages on or before Christmas as they had originally promised. With social media as their megaphone, unhappy customers took to the internet to publically voice their complaints.
As CNN Money reported, “Anger toward FedEx bubbled over on social media Thursday night and Friday morning, as people blamed the delivery company for ruining their holiday. Many people called FedEx the “Christmas Grinch.”
Don’t let your warehouse go into the season unprepared. Avoid damaging your customer loyalty and sinking profits because of delayed shipments. Now is the time to begin optimizing your warehouse for holiday orders and readying your warehouse. Use these tips to get started.
- Think about Your Warehouse Layout
A disorganized warehouse is an unprofitable warehouse. While that applies year-round perfecting your warehouse layout before peak season will dramatically enhance the holiday delivery season. Look to seasons past to optimize your distribution center, using bins to precisely organize every shelf and improve picking/order turn-around. Doing so will help you utilize best practices avoid making repeat mistakes, while keeping your inventory and teams organized.
- Defer to Forecasting
No warehouse manager wants to be sitting on a stockpile of unsold items come January. Before you order from a single vendor, make sure to consult an accurate forecasting projection. It acts like a crystal ball for the buying season and will help you perfect your order volume. Going in without this vital info is a gamble you’re likely to lose. Use forecasting software to help you build precise models that show volume on a daily, weekly and monthly basis over the course of the year. These technologies help you track orders for individual products at specific locations over time.
- Inspect your Equipment
Don’t wait until the rush to find out that your equipment is failing and in need of service. You need to make sure every single piece of material-handling equipment is ready to work overtime during the rush. This includes computer systems, printers, back up generators and power supplies, lift equipment, and your delivery fleet. A quick inspection while you have a bit of breathing room will give you ample time to conduct any repairs or replace faulty equipment.
- Hire Additional Skilled Workers
Seasonal jobs are a must for many skilled staff. However, finding trustworthy, capable temporary employees can be a challenge. Don’t wait until the last minute to start your search. By being among the first to hire you’ll be less likely to lose qualified candidates to your competitors, while allowing sufficient training time. If you’re having trouble sourcing staff, try implementing a small referral bonus and ask your current team to make recommendations for seasonal new hires.
- Implement a New Hire Training Program
After you have ramped up your seasonal support, the next step is to ensure they’re properly trained and know the lay of the land. A slow or uninformed temporary employee is of little use to you in the throes of the holiday season. Providing sufficient training will help new staff members work productively, efficiently and independently over the next few months.
In short, no company wants to be guilty of ‘ruining’ Christmas. Improving your workflow and increasing your warehouse’s overall productivity is the best way to thrive during the holiday rush. Preparing ahead of time when things are comparatively slow will ensure customer and retailer expectations aren’t dashed through the snow. Try it this year and take careful notes for how you can improve next season for an ever-increasing market share gain.
Warehouse organization is truly the gift that keeps on giving. If you could benefit from a little help before the rush, contact us!