In the recent months, retailers and suppliers have done everything in their control to help stabilize the global supply chain as we approach this holiday season.  With many countries still shut down due to Covid restrictions and parts shortages for a wide range of products, it’s no wonder there are delays throughout the entire supply chain process worldwide.  

Biden announced the White House’s plan to help ease supply chain bottlenecks in the US by funding key West Coast ports to stay open 24/7, as well as ramping up nighttime operations for freight railroads in warehouse and shipping hubs. 

FedEx and UPS were first to announce expanded-hours operation plans to assist with delivering the backlog of packages that sit in the long line of cargo ships down the west coast. As this plan moves closer to execution, many other larger retailers have since joined together to help solve this crisis. 

The holidays are the most lucrative time of year for businesses.  As we enter this crunch season over the next ten weeks, and hopefully more products begin hitting store shelves, supplier warehouses, and online inventories, here are a few key fulfillment strategies to focus on to thrive this holiday season.

Effective Warehouse Management
It is key to quickly and efficiently receive the goods, process them and send them back out to the correct address on time.  eCommerce businesses that succeed typically implement a software solution that helps automate and streamline daily operations.  It simplifies and directs the team to know what to pick, pack and ship.  

Warehouse layout is also a critical component to efficiency.  After the summer and fall rushes, it is important to see what is working and what needs to be adjusted so that the holiday season can run smoothly.

Trained Employees
The holiday season is like the eCommerce championship games in sports and not the time to train new employees for their first game.  Everywhere we look there’s help wanted signs and those fortunate enough to snag talented employees need to focus on keeping everyone motivated and engaged so that they are content and not looking for other opportunities.

It is critical to walk new employees through the entire fulfillment process — from inventory to order management to the picking and packing process. Partnering new employees with seasoned employees will help keep the flow and speed needed each day, reduce common errors that are both expensive and timely, and provide on the job training to new employees.

Efficient Shipping Strategy
Consumers have high expectations and many believe the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.  Many online retailers promote two-day shipping and provide online guarantees for shipping before December 24th.  No matter what the size of your ecommerce business, it can be daunting with all of the shipping delays across the country. Having a plan in place and communicating with your retailers will be critical during this time.

 

Any normal year would have retailers and ecommerce businesses ready to officially launch the holiday season at Black Friday, but with shortages and shipping delays, consumers started shopping much earlier than expected this year.  Reducing costly errors through efficient warehouse management, training employees and efficient shipping strategies will help as we enter this holiday shopping season.     

Simplify with OPAL’s 4-in-1 Software Solution
EDI | Order Management | Warehouse Management | Shipping

OPAL is the innovative solution to simplify your small to mid-sized to enterprise business fulfillment needs in today’s rapidly transforming retail world.  

As your eCommerce business looks to optimize fulfillment processes, OPAL is here to assist you in each of the strategies above with a significant Return on Investment outcome.

To learn more about how to make your eCommerce business scalable with OPAL, click here!

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