The Push for Peak Shipping is Here and Now
By Lane Williams
Christmas and peak shipping season may still be several months away, but the time to prepare is right now. The industry is already facing a difficult capacity crunch, so early logistics preparation is the key to a successful holiday sales season.
It may seem early to get holiday season shipments started, but it will be critical for success during this peak season, given the current market conditions. Retailers who wait until fall to address the peak shipping season could face high costs and massive delays for imports. Below we highlight a few variables to consider when proactively planning your holiday season shipping. We also cover how GEODIS can help ensure you have happy or merry customers this holiday season.
The Shipping Capacity Crunch
Preparing for peak shipping during the holiday season is always important, but it is even more vital this year.
When excluding data from the motor vehicles/parts sector, inventories are back up above pre-COVID levels. However, the inventory-to-sales ratio remains strikingly low because sales outpace restocking.
Per the linked article from Freightwaves, "companies cannot replenish inventories as fast as they are selling them. This challenge has lead to a troubled inventory restocking cycle. According to the associate professor of supply chain management at Michigan State University, Jason Miller, retailers must build up inventories by October to adequately prepare for the peak holiday shopping season. "If the inventory-to-sales ratio needs to revert to 2019 levels by the end of October, demand will be frontloaded"."
Holiday Season Supply Chain Challenges
The holiday season is the peak season for the industry as a whole. Holiday sales account for nearly 20% of the eCommerce industry's annual sales. A smooth, streamlined supply chain is imperative for keeping business going during this busy season.
Delays in the supply chain result in missed opportunities. Missing out on crucial holiday sales can have serious consequences for all businesses, especially those who generate a large portion of their sales during the holiday season. As consumers hunt for earlier and earlier holiday season deals, retailers must stock appropriate levels to compete during peak season.
Even the most prepared can have delays from the high volume of shipping orders. Early, careful preparation is essential for reducing the chances of delays and keeping the supply chain moving.
To properly stock inventory for the holiday season, retailers must forecast their inventory demand. They should assess their previous years' sales patterns, market dynamics and examine the sales spike throughout the holiday season. Consider any special promotions that may influence sales for certain inventory.
When forecasting, look past inventory and consider packaging, supplies, promotional inserts, and more. Running out of those items during peak shipping can be just as detrimental as running out of inventory.
While it's important not to overstock, understocking during the holiday season could be a major loss. Err on the safe side to avoid backorders and delays.
Assess Fulfillment Needs
Consider fulfillment needs for the holiday season. Evaluate current fulfillment methods and output. Compare this with forecasted sales to determine any necessary adjustments for fulfillment. Companies fulfilling orders in-house should consider working with an experienced 3PL for order processing and shipping. A fulfillment partner helps retailers increase order filling capacities and speed.
Those who currently outsource fulfillment should work with their provider to address the forecasted order volume. Communicate with the 3PL early and often to plan accordingly for the peak season.
Technology updates should be done by September or not until after peak season. Consider website changes, new products, new layouts, or new features. Retailers who do not have time to roll out and test these changes by September should hold off until after the holiday season.
The same rule applies to fulfillment technology. Complete any new integrations or upgrades this summer. Any changes to labels, security software, or packaging will affect the warehouse facility. Even a minor problem could turn into a huge delay during the busiest eCommerce season.
So How GEODIS Can Help
Preparing for the holiday shipping season can be crucial for preventing delays and navigating the current supply chain dynamics. Businesses that fail to be proactive may miss out on a huge opportunity this peak season.
Fortunately, GEODIS is here to help. As a value-driven logistics partner, GEODIS has built its strength as a transport company through more than a century of experience and a highly structured customer approach. This approach makes it easy for us to understand our clients' needs. We then move from this understanding to providing innovative, fully integrated, and customized logistics solutions across the globe that optimize the economic, operational, and environmental performance of our customer's supply chains. With our help, you can count on happy customers this holiday season. Don't let last-minute shipping ruin last-minute shopping.
Now, the time is to start preparing for the holiday shopping season, and GEODIS is here to help. Learn more about how we can help you get ahead of peak shipping by speaking with one of our experts today.
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