Retailers are always under more pressure during the holiday season. Most clients wait until the very last minute to place their orders, yet they still anticipate receiving them as soon as possible. There is no urgency to visit stores when purchasing online. They can obtain any product from their house, which relaxes them.
Business owners are under increased pressure to ensure that their clients receive their orders quickly. However, they will still have to deal with problems like rising costs and a capacity shortage around the holidays. There are not enough fleet vehicles available to handle the volume of delivery. Consequently, there is a critical requirement for efficient last-mile delivery.
For this reason, logistics managers must concentrate on planning and preparing early for the busy holiday season. Shippers can better withstand any contingency-related rise in logistics costs by planning for last-mile delivery management during holidays. This gives shippers a competitive advantage. Below are some strategies logistics managers can use to prepare for the holiday delivery peak.
Prepare in Advance
All logistics providers must plan to get through the busy season. Planning must take place all year to ensure the staff is adequately equipped for the busy season. Logistics managers can avoid unforeseen difficulties by planning to control customer delivery expectations.
Hire More Workers
Logistics managers must make early preparations for their increased staffing requirements. They must decide how many temporary employees they will need to hire and how many shifts they will need to run during the busiest holiday period. To keep employees satisfied throughout the increased seasonal workload, they also need to consider an incentive programme and employee bonuses.
- Setting Order Deadlines Ahead of Time
The holiday season will mean logistics managers will face significant pressure to ensure operations run smoothly. To avoid last-minute stress and help customers have more reasonable expectations for delivery, logistics managers should plan to move order deadlines a day or two before the festival day.
Logistics managers must ensure reliable information is transmitted across the supply chain at all levels. They must ensure that everyone is on the same page with increased activity and a higher degree of commitment.
- Effective Inventory Management
Forecasts for inventory should align with holiday season marketing and sales plans. Logistics managers must accurately predict the demand for each item over the holiday season and maintain their inventory levels in accordance based on their collective experience and brand strategy. Otherwise, reverse logistics problems may arise as a mountain of unsold items encircles them.
- Domestic Transport Capacity
Logistics managers must evaluate and plan their domestic transportation capacity to accommodate massive volumes throughout Christmas. Additionally, they must forge strong ties with their transportation partners to offer more carrying capacity during busy holidays.
- Situational Awareness on the Floor
During the hectic Christmas season, logistics managers must know the floor status in the distribution centre or their warehouse. However, studies show that at least 60% of the time is spent at desks by many logistics managers. When logistics managers spend more time away from the desk looking out at the floor, they can see the broken process. This enables logistics managers to see any production lag or performance issues with their own eyes, which is helpful as they will gain a different perspective.
- Effective supply chain management
To guarantee on-time delivery of goods throughout the busy Christmas season, well-built supply chains are critical. To help meet their customers’ demands, the management can turn to third-party logistics providers (3PLs).
- Offering Alternate Delivery Options
Online buyers value having the choice to select an alternative delivery method. Access points, which provide convenient alternatives to home delivery and guarantee client satisfaction throughout the process, are flexible delivery options. This option allows active online clients to select timely delivery and return locations.
- Planning for Interruptions
Logistics managers should think about establishing a space for managing exceptions, such as parcels that are too large or too heavy for the equipment that handles them, things that need special treatment, and unfulfilled orders. Keeping special cases in their designated space through the Christmas rush can help the usual item delivery proceed quickly.
- Contingency Plan for Emergencies
Logistics managers must prepare for outages lasting at least 2 to 6 hours. In an outage, they ought to be able to transfer orders to other locations for fulfilment. The decisions regarding which orders and how many orders can be transferred to different facilities must be made.
- Utilise Technology for Logistics
Some facilities experience multiple-fold increases in orders during the busiest times; however, it is unacceptable to take a long time to meet demand and deliver the goods. You will therefore have commercial issues if your logistics infrastructure isn’t prepared for the rise.
Because of this, logistics managers must use appropriate logistics technology, like a transport management system, to streamline the logistics process (TMS).
TMS assists in the storage, movement, and control of the flow of goods inside a logistics facility to better manage the holiday rush than manual labour. Logistic managers should integrate the warehouse management or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system with TMS. TMS should have features that enable vehicle tracking and provide updates on the delivery status as it travels.