Why do companies need to prepare for Holiday season?
The Holiday season is almost upon us, and it’s normal to feel the pressure of the volume spikes and tight deadlines because it is a time when consumer demand can make or break a business. If you are a business-owner, you know that now is the time to start preparing for the winter holiday shopping season. According to a survey conducted by Retail News in Asia, Alibaba racked up $30.8 billion on holiday season during this year - a 27 percent increase from last year and an all-time record for the e-commerce platform. Furthermore, in this peak season, the average amount consumers planned to spend for gifts also increased moderately. They spent $804.42 for gifts - up nearly 5% over last year’s $767.27 .
How to prepare your transportation for Christmas and New Year season?
Logistics managers with years of experience can forecast to a certain level of accuracy. By sitting with their team and analyze experience from last year’s holiday season, managers can find out the problems and plan for suitable solution. Make sure to consider everyone’s role and the strength of each person in your team in order to optimize and increase your chances of a successful holiday season.
A better, more accurate way is to use Demand Forecast or Business Intelligence Software with Machine Learning capability to study historical data and trends in the past. These types of software is equipped with the ability to store data from multiple sources in one location, simple interfaces and configurable functionalities to enable users to understand the system and use it efficiently. Overall, Demand Forecast Software or Business Intelligence tools have been proven to increase the accuracy, clarity, and comprehensiveness of data and the timeliness of the forecasting process, to ultimately deliver high-quality forecasts
2. Plan for increased staff, vehicle needed
More often than not, forecasted data can reveal precious insights to consider adding staff, vehicles and other resources. It would be perfect to ship orders just in time. However, in multiple businesses and especially in urban areas, Christmas’s demand grows so substantially that it is simply impossible to take only the sales forecast into account when planning seasonal resource needed. In high-volume business nature, such as FMCG retailers, companies must also take capacity constraints into account, and good questions must be asked:
If goods and services go in line with plan, is there enough warehouse capacity for peak days/hours or should we direct the orders to suppliers to faster deliver? Should we transfer the orders to 3rd parties to fulfill unexpected high number of orders?
Do we have sufficient transportation capacity or warehouse staff to match the delivery plan? Can we cope with outlier high demands in some hours?
Third party partner is one of potential solutions to Christmas season. Outsourcing warehousing to a third party logistic partner present plentiful benefits not only in peak seasons but also in general for a business to scale. Third party partners are not only specialized in specific operational functions - deploying warehousing staff, organizing goods efficiently, moving tracks of ins and outs faster, etc. - but also cheaper and more efficient in these professions than businesses’ own warehouse operation.
To help with route planning, using powerful Route Optimization software should be taken in account. Abivin vRoute combines Transportation Management System with Route Optimization Software into an All-in-One Logistics Optimization Platform which finds the shortest path connecting delivery points, automatically generates optimal routes that satisfy 20+ parameters. Logistics managers now can rely on a Route Optimization Software to boost efficiency rather than manual work, and track all delivery activities on a real-time dashboard.
3. Control your orders and fleet
Anything can happen when you have high volume of orders, so keep an eye for trouble and resolve accordingly. One of the effective practice is setting order deadlines earlier. Moving your order deadlines a day or two earlier is likely to reduce much of your last-minute stress and set more realistic fulfillment expectations with consumers. On the other hands, Adam Robinson pointed out in his article that fleet reporting can also be a tool to help you review the holiday season and identify areas where you can improve . Fleet reporting can monitor your fleet and drive cost saving. It delivers detailed information on every vehicle in your fleet, including fuel transactions, fines paid on your behalf, open road tolling, vehicle specifications, and more. So that, it is easy to reconcile checks and balances and record any incident.
4. Measure KPIs
Here are some KPIs you need to keep an eye on during the holiday season:
Shipping Time: Spot potential issues in your order fulfilment process
Order Accuracy: Monitor the degree of incidents
Delivery Time: Track your delivery time in detail
Transportation Costs: Analyze all costs from the order placement to delivery
Warehousing Costs: Optimize the expenses of your warehouse
Number of Shipments: Understand how many orders are shipped
Inventory Accuracy: Avoid problems because of inaccurate inventory
Inventory Turnover: Track how many times your entire inventory is sold
Inventory to Sales Ratio: Identify a potential overstock
On time in full (OTIF): Measure the success at delivering exactly what the customer ordered on the day
After measuring, data needs to be cleaned and stored systematically in order to be useful in the following year. As a business, we need to see exactly what represents a critical issue to ensure a successful holiday shopping season.
All in all, It is critical for company to plan ahead and spend the time reviewing their past data and prepare for the new season. The earlier you begin to plan your holiday sales season, the smoother it generally goes.