With the nights drawing in and the temperatures starting to drop, the festive season is now just a handful of short weeks away.Whilst it might seem a bit hasty to be thinking about Christmas already, in the logistics industry it is never too early.
As many businesses wind down for the winter, those who rely heavily on shipping, freight and logistics can sense the impending ‘storm’.So, how do you prepare for the ‘storm’ and make sure your business navigates this festive season as smoothly as possible?
Here’s our three top tips for logistics planning for the festive season.
As the festive season can be full of unpredictable factors, the most important thing you can do to prepare is to plan for the Christmas peak in logistics well in advance.
It’s well known that the ‘Christmas rush’ is one of the busiest delivery periods in the calendar, so if you leave it too late you’ll be up against every other business looking for last minute haulier support.
One of the best ways to plan for this year is to take a look at your order and stock levels from last year – did you have enough stock on hand to fulfil all of your orders? Did you pre-book enough vehicles and drivers to get your consignments where they needed to go?
If you answered no to any of the above questions, now is the time to get ahead of the rush and make sure you don’t fall short this year.
Prepare for delays
With the festive season comes inclement weather and ever-increasing traffic on the roads, seas and skies. Even with the best will and prior planning in the world, there are factors out of our control that can throw a spanner in the works at just the wrong time.
Depending on where you are importing to and exporting from, preparing for inevitable delays is crucial when planning logistical operations in peak season. To help safeguard your business against the impacts of this, consider increasing the number of hauliers you pre-book, as well as bringing any planned delivery dates forward to make sure your stock is on hand when you need it.
For your customers, it can also be beneficial to add warnings to your website and other customer-facing platforms to advise placing their orders earlier than usual to guard against any potential delays.
Unfortunately, delays are to be expected at this time of year, but don’t leave it until the last minute to tell your customers that their Christmas deliveries might be arriving later than expected.
Step up customer service
Christmas is a delicate time for deliveries, with companies facing huge commercial obligations and customers eager to leave something under the tree on the big day. It can be a highly emotional time.
There may be factors out of your control, such as ice on the roads or grounded import planes, but there are ways to limit the damage caused and still provide a positive experience for your customers.
As we creep closer to the festive season, consider upping your customer service support to allow your clientele the opportunity to speak with someone about their orders.
Small delays are understandable, but complete radio silence can be the difference between a patient customer and an order cancellation.
It may seem far away, but before we know it, the supermarket shelves will be lined with Christmas products and festive orders will begin flooding in.
When it comes to planning for the Christmas peak in logistics, it is always better to be overprepared than underprepared – and there isn’t too much longer for you to get ahead of the game.
Check your stock, anticipate your orders, and book your haulier requirements today to avoid disappointment for you and, more importantly, your customers.