Planning ahead is the best way to prepare for holiday shipping season success. In the months leading up to the holidays, increased amounts of imported and domestic goods must be transported to distribution centers or retail stores. The increase in volumes typically leads to limited capacity and decreased amount of drivers. On top of a challenging freight environment, possible winter weather and hard delivery dates by retailers can create further shipping challenges.
To prepare for the holiday shipping season, here is a list of tips from our transportation experts to help you minimize the impact of peak shipping season:
- Plan staffing in advance and have a contingency plan to minimize the effect on daily operations. Many companies are negatively impacted due to PTO or sick time during the holidays.
- Communicate with management, marketing and sales to understand demand forecasts as well as upcoming discounts and specials.
- Plan your pricing strategy so that additional shipping costs can be covered on rush orders.
- Place transportation bookings as early as possible and factor in additional transit times for critical shipments.
- Acknowledge that an increase in demand on carriers can limit available capacity and cause a temporary increase in rates. Increased volumes could also impact the available equipment for shipments.
- Have a worst case scenario plan which accounts for expedited shipping cost increases.
- Clearly communicate shipping deadlines with suppliers and delivery expectations with customers.
- Have a communication plan in place in case of delays.
- Understand that not all carriers provide Protect From Freeze services and availability can vary by carrier, location and time.
- Monitor safety stock levels just in case supply chain delays or port congestion transpires.
- Realize that any delays will impact the “estimated” time of delivery.
- Know that cut off dates and times for fixed weekly sailings can be changed on short notice.
- Communicate early with end customers should any delays occur.
In an effort to effectively and efficiently manage your logistics program this holiday season, let our team help you plan ahead. With state-of-the-art technology, a comprehensive suite of solutions and transportation experts, your holiday inventory will be handled with professionalism and precision. Contact our team today to learn more.