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Is Your Warehouse Ready for the Holidays?

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A worker restocking

When preparing for the Holiday season, many retailers start to plan, sometimes even right after the rush from the current season. Strategic transformations to a retailer’s supply chain for the peak season isn’t always a necessary component. Small, yet simple adjustments can be implemented to improve your distribution process to create efficiency and effectiveness. Follow these four practices to turn your holiday strategy into a season of success.

1. System Tuning

In the distribution channel, there are jobs that depend on the finalization of the previous function to move forward. Some examples of the “downtime” of operations are pick waves, shipment confirmation, and bath order load. Most of the time as volume increases, waves tend to run for a longer period. To minimize these actions, you can reduce the amount of active data, boost the power of your platform either permanently of temporarily to meet the needs of the holiday season, review and enhance processing jobs and create multi-thread jobs to replace single-threaded ones that currently exist.

2. Training and Onboarding

It’s common for retailers to increase their workforce leading up to and during the holiday season, along with capacity contract labor to handle increased volume.

The purpose of understanding this process is to maximize effectiveness while minimizing cost.

Establishing a highly operative onboarding and training program to get holiday season workers up to speed quickly and efficiently. Taking the time to plan for the holiday season will benefit retailers in guaranteed ROI. A great way to train temporary employees is to use areas of the warehouse to create stimulation areas that mimic the actual work they will be doing. Implementing an advanced training program will allow the holiday workforce to come up to speed and be productive in the process.

3. Process Streamlining

Reviewing your system configuration or physical layout to make simple process changes will make significant improvements. During the peak season, small performance gains can add up to serious improvements. Distribution centers often have “suboptimal paths implemented” or the physical layout hasn’t changed since it was first implemented, making one small change can save 20-30% of overall time.

  • Relocate supporting materials during operations
  • Optimize the layout of these materials
  • Analyze material flow through DC to be analyzed and changed into a “leaner path”
  • Review each process to identify non-value-added steps

4. Dust off that LM Module

If you have a labor management module, then implement it. Implementing a labor management system (LMS) and program by the holiday season can be tough the later you start so, the sooner the better.

Advantages to Labor Management Module

  • Good visibility into workforce productivity
  • Set reasonable performance expectations
  • Measure temporary holiday workforce

Find out how our expert supply chain consultants can help you prepare for the holidays.

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