Whether you’re trying to get through Christmas, summer, a major sales event, or an industry-specific season, be prepared with these helpful tips.
Peak season in a warehouse or distribution center varies by business and industry, and is influenced by factors such as holidays, promotions, special events, and seasonal trends. Maybe your peak season begins after Thanksgiving with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and goes all the way through Christmas. Or perhaps the back-to-school season is when things heat up at your site. Or maybe Amazon’s Prime Day is your big event. Whenever your busy time of year occurs, you need to be able to scale up in order to handle the increased workflow.
It’s essential for warehouse and distribution center managers to anticipate and plan for these peak seasons by adjusting staffing levels, optimizing processes, increasing inventory, improving logistics, and otherwise ensuring that the facility is adequately prepared to handle the surge in demand. Planning in advance and having efficient strategies in place can help manage the increased workload and maintain smooth operations during peak seasons.
Scale-up for peak season at your warehouse or DC:
- Analysis and Assessment
- Adopt an Efficiency Mindset
- Optimize Robotics and Automation
- Staffing for Rapid Onboarding
- Contingency Planning
Analysis and Assessment
July or August are typically the best months for warehouses to begin data analysis. Starting early leaves you and your team plenty of time to adjust to changes and hit the ground running. For example, installing warehouse robots can initially have a bit of a learning curve. However, investing in them well ahead of peak season leaves time to get all the technical speed bumps worked out so you have a streamlined system by the holiday rush.
It’s important to analyze data from past peak seasons to identify patterns, trends, and timing. The IndPro team uses your data to forecast demand for products during your peak season for ultimate accuracy and precise timing on shipments. Our accurate demand forecasting also contributes to better inventory planning and resource allocation throughout the year.
Adopt an Efficiency Mindset
Successful peak season planning isn’t just upgrading the warehouse and doing inventory audits. It’s also important to ensure you and your team are approaching things with the right mindset. Getting in gear is all about building efficiency in the warehouse.
This mindset means approaching changes and planning strategies with efficiency as a top priority. Concentrating on improving your warehouse’s efficiency ensures your peak season strategy and sets you up to make the most of the increased holiday traffic. It’s the difference between a facility that gets swamped during peak season and one that thrives.
Optimize Robotics and Automation
Optimizing technology is the most vital consideration. With the right strategy, equipment, and software in place, everything else will fall in line.
Sitewide, you can leverage warehouse management systems (WMS) and other technological solutions for real-time tracking, order processing, inventory control, and automated reporting. Automation systems also can intelligently allocate tasks to human workers based on their expertise and availability, optimizing workforce productivity and performance.
Of course, robots and automation play a crucial role in helping warehouses effectively manage the increased demands and complexities of the peak season.
Robots automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, such as order processing, labeling, and sorting, to increase productivity and reduce manual errors. What’s more, they can do it faster and more efficiently – which is critical during peak season when order volumes are highest.
Reducing mistakes while improving pick rate is key to improving overall efficiency. Many warehouses are adopting various order-picking robots to assist their employees, helping them reach their goals.
Staffing for Rapid Onboarding
Staffing is yet another key area of consideration. Hiring temporary workers is a widely acknowledged strategy for keeping things moving despite increased traffic. You don’t necessarily need to hire these seasonal workers sooner, but preparing for their arrival well in advance is a good idea.
Seasonal workers operate on a condensed timeline, so an efficient onboarding process is key to success for everyone. It’s a waste of time to sit through long, drawn-out training for a temporary job, and inefficient onboarding delays their start date. It’s in everyone’s best interest to create a rapid onboarding procedure.
Onboarding should adequately prepare seasonal employees for their jobs in the minimum possible time. Concentrate on only the most vital and relevant information, such as safety guidelines or scheduling directions. This should be ready to go by the time you hire.
Prepare for the fallout while expecting the best outcome. As nothing in life is ever certain, it is best to develop contingency plans to address unforeseen challenges, such as equipment breakdowns, inclement weather, or unexpected surges in demand.
IndPro will help you discover challenges, backup resources, and plan for emergency response procedures – heading off the fallout. And after your busy season, we’ll conduct a thorough analysis to evaluate performance, identify areas for improvement, and gather insights to better plan for future peak seasons.
Gearing up for your peak season ensures operational success.
Peak season planning can seem like a daunting task at first. However, approaching it with a few core priorities can give you a clear road map leading to the holiday rush. Our team can help your team achieve peak season warehouse success by concentrating on efficiency and optimization throughout the facility.
IndPro comes alongside our clients to offer our expertise with:
- Meticulously evaluating your operational data to handle the expected increase in inventory and order volume.
- Optimizing warehouse layout to ensure efficient flow of goods, arranging popular SKUs and frequently accessed products in easily accessible areas to minimize pick and pack times.
- Considering additional material handling and storage integration options, temporary storage, or off-site storage if you don’t have the capacity to match forecasted flow and/or volume.
IndPro is your trusted advisor for efficient distribution and order fulfillment operations.
Contact our team to help you streamline your operations to maximize productivity and increase your ROI.