Have you ever been to a store in January? It’s not too crowded. But if you’ve ever been to a store in December, right before Christmas, you know that it’s one of the busiest times of the year. The holiday shopping season is typically the time of year when most businesses see seasonal year-end increases in profits. With that in mind, it’s important for warehouses to be prepared for the holiday season, which includes Black Friday (after Thanksgiving) and, of course, the “Christmas rush,” as people get gifts for December 25th.
In anticipation of the holiday shopping season, warehouses can do several things to be prepared.
Review Your Layout
For starters, it’s a good idea to do a layout review. Move things that matter the most to easy to reach places. Consider how you’re currently storing items. How’s the “flow?” Can you increase storage capacity by moving some things around and/or stacking boxes? Basically, you want to prepare the warehouse for more merchandise. And you want to make sure paths are not blocked, in order to make it easy for people and machines to get to the merchandise.
Learn From Past Mistakes and Victories
Next, think about last year’s holiday season. What did you do that went well? What didn’t work? Perhaps pallet consolidation can free up additional rack positions. Is there any space to add additional pallet racking in the warehouse? Could they go above dock doors or above the flow rack? Look at last year’s sales reports and then look over order flow projections. Managing inventory flow is so important during the holiday season.
Get Your Staffing Right
Also, don’t forget about staffing for the holiday rush! Once you have a good idea of volume projections, you might need to hire additional staff to make sure jobs run smoothly and daily goals are met. Some warehouses contract with a staffing agency in order to provide backfill. Some offer “stay on” bonuses for workers who’d like to keep working at the warehouse beyond December. Check vacation schedules to make sure not too many employees are “off” when you need them to be “on” the clock.
Finally, before things get “crazy” for the holidays, make sure warehouse maintenance issues are taken care of so you’re not stuck with equipment that doesn’t work or unusable parts of the building.