Preparing Your Supply Chain for the 2019 Holiday Season
It’s November, as we herald in the Holiday season retailers, fulfillment centers, and shippers around the country are preparing for the holiday season and have supply chain best practices on the brain. The National Retail Federation forecasted that holiday sales for 2019 are expected to increase by 3.8-4.2% over 2018. Several businesses make the majority of their sales during the holiday season. Change in consumer habits can lead to disruption, and if a company hasn’t planned, they could suffer a potential loss in sales. Let’s begin by unwrapping a few key variables for planning your supply chain for the busy holiday season.
Disruptive Forces Impacting Holiday Supply Chain Management
To further complicate the busiest time of the year, there are a couple of disrupting factors that could impact your holiday season supply chain.
The Driver Shortage –Several factors are combining to create a real, worsening truck driver shortage in the United States. According to the American Trucking Association, the industry is currently lacking about 51,000 drivers, with the number only expected to increase to more than 176,000 by 2026. Since Boomers have traditionally made up the majority of truckers, this mass exodus of drivers taking place means fewer people available to transport goods over-the-road.
Inventory – Poor planning in inventory or even running out of products is a nightmare for any business, as it often means a loss in sales. Purchasers over the holiday season aren’t likely to want to wait for products; most often, people go out of their way to purchase products that come as quick as possible. Running out of products means a drastic reduction in revenue, and by the time the product comes back in stock, the interest may have subsided.
Issues with Delivery- Between the wintery weather conditions that transpire throughout the United States during the holidays or the erratic and unpredictable delivery times, several shipping issues can arise during the holidays. All of this can lead to either delayed packages or product shrinkage, and ultimately a loss in revenue.
Holiday Supply Chain Management Solutions
Inventory issues, fewer drivers, and demanding consumer habits are pain points for companies everywhere. These disruptive forces are likely to cause significant chaos to supply chains across many industries. Here are several solutions to help you ” weather the storm” that is the holiday season.
Improve Your Supply Chain Visibility
In today’s tech world, with the right logistics, products, and management systems, items can be easily moved, tracked, and manipulated by the customer. Not only can you acquire the best technology to help to avoid most of the major holiday supply chain disruptions, but you can also use the data to forecast consumer trends. Solution platforms bring together all of the parties in a supply chain, making data more apparent and creating greater agility. Instead of working as silos, each vendor and partner work collaboratively from start to finish helping to decrease issues with inventory and delivery.
Shippers should use smaller holidays to stress-test their facilities processes to ensure they will operate properly during the more hectic holidays. Stretching peak season by starting holiday promotions earlier can help spread the work required of a distribution center over a more extended period.