The typical peak season supply chain presents its own set of challenges yearly. However, this peak season is one never seen before. This year, 2020, is shaping up to be the most challenging year yet with the global pandemic in full force and the delays following for most of this year. Peak season will undoubtedly pose these same challenges, just on a larger scale. Now is the time for suppliers, carriers, and merchants to use their imaginations to make this peak season run smoother, using logistics technologies, and get ahead of the disruption curve.
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High Demand, High Challenges, New Stakes
Peak season is the busiest season for shoppers, businesses, suppliers, and transportation. This is an increasing demand each year, and the challenges only grow. This year, as a global pandemic has surfaced, this will bring new challenges across the board. Safety is more important than ever, and the peak season supply chain must be in tip-top condition to tackle this peak season. Because of the new hurdles supply chains face every day, especially in the age of e-commerce, they must get a little creative. Issues such as reverse logistics put extra strain on the peak season because of consumer demand and the consumer demand for perfection. The more shopping online transpires, the more businesses spend on return purchases, which skyrockets reverse logistics expenditures. E-commerce seems to be putting extra tensions in the peak season supply chain logistics. It is to be to how businesses and all suppliers address this issue in the coming holiday season.
Lack of Visibility and the Way it Hinders Preparation
Part of the preparation for the peak season is knowing the product and pinpointing its exact location at any given time. Thankfully, technology has advanced far enough that there are entire inventory management systems available. The lack of real-time visibility is a clear obstacle that the peak season supply chain faces. Tracking a product location from start to finish is essential, especially with the growing e-commerce platform. Being unable to see logistics in real-time paves the way for late freight, the inability to fulfill orders, and ultimately drives up spending.
Peak Season Supply Chain Challenges and How to Overcome Them
One of the obstacles that companies face in the peak season supply chain is the competition over fast shipping. A large part of staying competitive is the ability to offer high-speed delivery. According to Supply Chain Brain, it must include a strong focus on how to embrace omnichannel capabilities:
“It entails a strategy around an omnichannel approach — enabling consumers to have access to their goods both online and through brick and mortar, with curbside pickup. It’s about having a multi-phased approach to capturing business with the shopping clientele. Many practices need to be adjusted using technology, real-time inventory, and supply chains to provide near-immediate delivery.”
Overcoming this challenge is to try and eliminate all other issues. Increase customer service practices, take steps to reduce significant mistakes, and consider outsourcing for shipping. Minimizing the problems in the rest of the peak season supply chain will help retain customers and keep them coming back.
Tips on How to Make the Most Out of Peak Season Planning
There are many ways to prevent overspending and to plan for the challenges that face suppliers and businesses in the peak season supply chain, such as:
- Make use of inventory tracking systems. Inventory tracking systems allow insight into a stockroom and prevent the product from running low or empty for merchants. Businesses can better manage their inventory and monitor their processes and cash flow simultaneously with technology that is now available. Consider different inventory management tools.
- Follow the trends. Forecast spending and watch the trends as people shop. Peak season gets busier every year, and monitoring these trends will tailor a business plan.
- Watch carrier rates. Planning shipments ahead of time and watching carrier rates will help prevent overspending. Watch the carriers across the board to save the most money.
- Plan all year. Do not wait until peak season hits to begin planning. Preparing for the peak season is an all-year-long process and will prepare a business more successfully if appropriately monitored. This will save time and money in the long term.
The Big Picture Remains All About Better, Proactive Planning Around New Challenges
The future of the supply chain is not set in stone. Any disruption may cause trouble in managing peak season demand. Fortunately, peak season planning will significantly reduce the peak season supply chain issues and create a better profit margin. And it will make for a better and more efficient peak season.