To the uninitiated, it may seem crazy to already be talking about the holiday season in the heat of August. However, for those of us in the logistics business, we’re well aware that the summer is peak season for receiving, where inventories are built up to support the peak shipping season beginning in September. Seasonal and holiday themed products have been flowing into warehouses since the beginning of July and are starting to ship out to retailer distribution centers. Whether it’s pumpkin spiced cookies or peppermint bark chocolate, these are the steps that can help you navigate the peak inventory and shipping season to ensure your products are on shelves in time for the holiday season:
Forecast and Communicate – Let your partners know the type of volume that you’re expecting so they can plan accordingly. The earlier you can provide this information, the better and the more likely you’ll be to have a home for all your product. The biggest limitation in a warehouse is the amount of space there is and unfortunately in today’s real estate market, there’s no additional space that’s readily available for only a few months. Unlike the transportation world, where you can find additional capacity, many times at a higher cost, warehouses are limited in space by their walls and ceiling. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a “wall stretcher”. Your warehousing provider will need to make sure they have the space and labor to handle the increase in your inbound and outbound activity. Your transportation provider will need to secure trucks which can be especially difficult in the transportation capacity crunch that typically occurs leading up to the holiday season. Your logistics provider may also have programs that can help you become more efficient and cost effective, such as vendor consolidation programs and direct store delivery.
Plan for the Demand & Know Your Inventory – Ensure that you have the inventory to meet the demand for your products well in advance of the holiday season, plus additional inventory to cover anything that comes up. Work with a 3PL that has a robust Warehouse Management System (WMS), which will provide you with visibility to monitor inventory levels, outbound orders and expiration dates. In today’s world of “Just In Time” (JIT) inventory, there is little room for error in logistics and distribution, especially during the holiday season and a short shipment can lead to competitors gaining ground on your consumers.
Make Your Products Stand Out – The holiday season is the perfect time to experiment with themed packaging and promotions. This can be done with existing inventory through your warehousing provider’s value-added services department, negating the need to manufacture or import a new SKU. Whether it’s a shipper display, variety pack or another type of eye-catching display, your warehousing provider can re-work the product into its shiny new packaging.
No matter the product you’re selling or the retailers you’re selling to, the holiday season is your time to shine. Consumers are more adventurous and willing to make purchases that they may not have during other times of the year. This is your chance for your product to grab hold of consumers and keep them coming back well after the holidays are over. Make sure that your products are there when a consumer walks down the aisle. Work with a logistics provider that will partner with you to forecast and plan you peak season volume to meet the holiday shipping demand. Contact Port Jersey Logistics today.