During busy periods, such as Christmas, Easter, Black Friday, or sales season, retailers face a large number of customers looking for gifts for themselves or their loved ones. This puts a lot of pressure on employees working in warehouses, especially if there isn’t a well-developed management system in place. Today we’ll teach you how to prepare your warehouse for this holiday rush so you can be efficient and make your customers happy.
1. Organize the goods in your warehouse efficiently and maintain order
Organizing goods is important in any warehouse, regardless of its size. Without a well-organized system, chaos and lack of productivity can quickly set in. Space must always be optimized. Your first instinct is to choose a warehouse that is as large as possible, even though you may not have a large number of goods that require such a space. Reality will show you that this is not always an effective measure. It’s not how big the space is, it’s how well it’s optimized, and in this situation, we suggest you try a vertical organization.
The placement of products in the warehouse should be based on their turnover. For example, the ABC method can help you keep order in the warehouse and work efficiently. Fast-moving products should be placed as close as possible to the entrance, medium-moving products should be stored in the middle section of the warehouse, and slow-moving products can be moved to the back of the warehouse. Of course, this method can be adapted depending on the type of organization – if we are talking about a vertical organization, fast-moving products are placed on the bottom shelves, medium-moving products in the middle, and slow-moving products on the top shelves.
2. Use forecasting to prepare for busy periods
There are certain seasonal trends you may want to watch to prepare properly for busy times. During certain weeks of the year, such as the pre-Christmas period, orders and workloads increase significantly. Use the statistics to your advantage! Estimate the level of demand during busy periods and allocate the necessary resources for correct and efficient warehouse management. These forecasts will help you to keep your customers’ favorite products in stock at all times.
3. Inspect appliances and equipment regularly
Imagine it’s one of the busiest days of the year at the warehouse and the forklift breaks down. It’s not bad luck, but a situation you could have avoided if you regularly inspected the machines and equipment used in your warehouse. We recommend that you do this check especially before such a busy period, identify any small problems and fix them. No matter how good the equipment is, it will wear out at some point, especially if it is not properly maintained. To avoid complete damage and the chaos that could ensue, call in a specialist company to carry out the inspection.
4. Use human resources efficiently
There is currently quite a lot of pressure on reducing warehouse operating costs – labor accounts for about 45% of a warehouse’s operating costs. In busy times it is important to know how to use human resources efficiently and intelligently. For example, you can set up secondary relocation activities for employees who experience alternating peak and off-peak periods. But be careful not to go to extremes and assign extra tasks to an employee who does not have the time to do them. To be able to do this, it is extremely important to measure individual employee productivity, not collective productivity. Implementing a system to monitor employee performance and assign individual tasks can be a solution.
5. Use a warehouse management system (WMS)
No matter how well organized your warehouse is, how well-maintained your machines are and how prepared you think you are for a busy month, without a warehouse management system, problems can arise that can turn your business upside down. As you discover the benefits that a WMS, like Planograma, can bring you, you won’t want to go back to the way you used to work. Here are some of the advantages that Planograma brings you:
- You can coordinate stock and product demand in real-time (this option can give you a competitive advantage)
- You can manage a wide variety of products and suppliers from one place
- You can prioritize specific delivery points
- You can more easily keep track of an entire supply chain
- You can organize inventory more efficiently
- You can access reports on warehouse operations
More and more companies are turning to warehouse management systems to reduce operating expenses and increase customer service levels. Without such systems, multi-channel fulfillment of demand is not possible. The biggest advantage of such a system is that it integrates all processes in the warehouse, increases team productivity, and minimizes human error. All the tips we have given you above can be implemented much more easily with a warehouse management system like Planograma. Planograma is a complete WMS solution that can be customized according to the specific requirements of each industry.
We can see that all the tips above have one thing in common: WMS. Such a system will serve you well not just during the holiday season or sales season but throughout the year. Let’s not forget that consumer behavior has changed a lot recently. E-commerce has taken off in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and customer expectations of the services offered by companies have changed – for example, the number of requests for same-day or next-day delivery has started to rise. Such requests can put additional pressure on warehouse activity during busy periods, but also during common days. As the number of fast-track orders increases, so do operating costs, but so does the need to use available resources more efficiently. A warehouse management system, like Planograma, helps you manage peak periods much better, eliminate human error and keep your customers happy. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s all about customers – happy customers keep profits high.