Preparation and a review of warehouse processes are key to surviving the peak season
Even though we are still a few months away from the onslaught of the peak season for shopping and shipping for Black Friday, it is never too early to develop a plan of action and get your company ready for success and for the continued demand over Christmas and the January sales.
With forward thinking and a willingness to improve your processes, you should take your mistakes from each year and find ways to improve year on year – ensuring your businesses increases profitability and stays one step ahead of your competition.
“The shopping frenzy is relentless making it imperative you and your warehouse are prepared”
Special promotions and significant price cuts to entice buyers, can put an operational burden on a distribution centre. Without a solid warehouse management system in place, the success of Black Friday or any seasonal sale, could be a disaster. Over the past few months, we have seen a surge in demand for goods online and we expect this to continue for the foreseeable future. How has your warehouse been performing?
Bank Holiday sales & Black Friday are some of the biggest shopping days of the year, not just on the high street, but online too. We expect this year to be a bit different with a larger increase for online deals due to social distancing etc. It’s hard to predict the potential surge of consumers potentially crashing e-commerce websites looking for a good deal, but you need to make sure you are ready.
If you ask us when you should start to prepare for peak season sales – we would tell you it’s never too early or too late!
Whether you were overloaded with orders last year or wondering where the crowd was that everyone kept going on about, there are lessons to be learnt. Installing a Warehouse Management System or updating your legacy system now can ensure you are ready to take on any peak season or unexpected influx of orders whatever the time of year.
You will be please to know, time is still on your side and here are a few things you should start to consider in order to make sure your warehouse runs smoothly and copes with the influx in orders.
- Be prepared – review what happened last year and what changes you need to make to maximise your productivity and customer experience this year. Do you have a back-up plan if things go wrong? How will you currently cope with an increase in demand?
- Stock – speak to your purchasing department and suppliers to make sure that you will have the right levels of stock in your warehouse to fulfill your forecast in demands this year. Enabling you to fulfill all your customers’ demands and increase customer satisfaction with prompt dispatch and deliveries.
- Organisation – installing a WMS system will help you organise your warehouse to ensure it’s running more efficient and effective during the busy times. Reduce picking & dispatch times and have all the product information you need to hand at any time. Standard systems will also make training new staff a lot easier before they are expected to hit the ground running.
- Different channels – You or your customers might be selling across several channels and websites. Perhaps you take orders 0ver the phone and sell via your website or are trialing selling via Amazon and eBay or other leading retailers. Make sure you have a platform that can handle multi-channels. Your customers might expect quicker delivery times – review all dispatch options and improve integration with more courier companies etc.
- Technology – If you’re currently using a warehouse management system, make sure that it’s up to the job during peak seasons. Now might be the time to think about additional functionality for your WMS or upgrading to the latest cloud software. The system will give you more accurate stock levels across different eCommerce websites such as Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, and Shopify and will give you better reporting by providing you with the information you need when you need it.
- Staff levels – The key to success is to ensure you have the right levels of trained and enthusiastic staff. Hiring temporary warehouse could be the key and a WMS will enable you to predict the correct staffing levels at all times. Reviewing staffing levels and planning ahead will enable you to concentrate on the other areas of your business rather than trying to find suitable staff at the last minute.
- Communication – Good communication is essential in any business at any time of the year, and for Black Friday; communication in your warehouse needs to be at its best. Make sure your warehouse staff are fully trained & know exactly what they need to do at all times and you have all your systems up and running before the peak season kicks in.
Already this year, we have seen a shift in some retailers who are adding hundreds of small distribution points to their network, such as secure drop off areas to try and deliver on getting the goods to customers faster and more safely. Sounds complicated? Not at all – the latest WMS can handle all these elements quickly and efficiently and make peak seasons sales a profitable experience with minimal headaches.
This new ship-from-store model is expected to continue to grow in a variety of new ways, potentially even turning retailers into warehouses for others. Amazon, for example, is leveraging its merchant partners and using their warehousing to meet its demand and the “Seller Fulfilled Prime” program has allowed it to expand its two-day shipping guarantee by an additional six million items.
Technology is constantly changing with the market brings in new devices, from automation tools and robots to the smartphone in the workplace, the older WMS would’ve continually needed custom work to keep up. Getting everything right now by updating or installing the latest cloud WMS will pay dividends in the future and improve your productivity & profitability as well, resulting in better customer satisfaction.
The WMS software will not only improve the functionality of your warehouse but will also provide you with all the information you need to make better informed decisions from running regular reports during & after the peak season sales, enabling you to refine your processes, stock levels before the next build up for the next peak seasons – Bank Holidays, Christmas & the January sales.
Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.
Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfillment and manufacturing warehousing.