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Tune-up Your Warehouse for Peak Season

Holiday commercials seem to start running on TV earlier and earlier every year. Kids are barely back in school, and we’re seeing advertisements for Halloween candy, Black Friday sales, or getting an early start on our New Year’s resolutions. 

And while our thoughts may still be about lazy beach days or exciting hikes with friends, now is the time to start getting our warehouses ready for peak season.

In this guide, we’ll be looking at:

  • What is peak season in warehousing?
  • Why is peak season important for warehouse operators?
    • Warehouse fundamentals
    • Putting data to use
    • The Tech Advantage
  • Planning for peak season? A WMS can help!

What is peak season in warehousing?

In North America, peak season runs from Halloween to the New Year or October to the end of January. For some brands and retailers, peak season can also include back-to-school sales. Key dates in peak season include:

    •   Halloween (October 31)
    •   Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving: November 25, 2022)
    •   Cyber Monday (the Monday after Black Friday: November 28, 2022)
    •   Super Saturday (the last Saturday before Christmas: December 18, 2022)
    •   The Christmas season
    •   New Year
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Why is peak season important for warehouse operators?

Peak season means increased demand for warehouse operators, which comes with increased challenges. Without proper planning for peak season (which needs to start now), you could experience significant warehouse limitations, difficulty balancing inventory, and labor shortages, all of which could result in unhappy clients and dissatisfied customers. Proper planning for peak season involves three key steps to help you navigate and survive the increased demand for your operations. 

Warehouse fundamentals

Summertime is the perfect time to evaluate the state of your warehouse and make the necessary enhancements to crucial elements in advance of peak season, including:

    • Labor planning: ensuring you have enough staff and that your team is trained to handle the increased demands of peak season. You’ll need to ensure your staff is comfortable with the technologies used in your warehouse and that you are creating dynamic and flexible schedules to keep up with demand and workloads. 
    • Optimized warehouse layout: Streamlining your operations will improve the efficiency of your pick and pack processes. Identify bottlenecks and high-traffic areas with zone strategies to help you get orders out quickly. Optimize your storage space by maximizing vertical space and shelf depth, or consider using additional warehouses in peak season.
    • Get your inventory ready: It’s essential to start the season with accurate inventory to avoid surprise shortages or misplaced stock. It’s a good time to evaluate your inventory strategy and to establish a system that will help you meet the needs of peak season. 

Putting data to use

Data is your friend, no matter what time of year it is. You can use historical data and real-time monitoring to develop the best game plan for your operations. 

    • Historical data can be used for peak season forecasting, including demand forecasting, labor planning (time to train staff, organizing teams and shifts, calculating the number of people you need), calculating risk, and showing you what to expect based on past activity. 
    • Real-time data can give you timely and accurate visibility into your operations, can help you track shipments, deliveries, and returns, and track orders and inventory levels to prevent overflow of storage. 

The Tech Advantage

Warehouses can no longer operate with manual processes and spreadsheets. To be successful, you need to implement the right technologies for your needs, including:

    • Warehouse Management System (WMS) software: WMS software can provide real-time inventory monitoring, effective labor and storage solutions, automating processes, and managing carrier rates.
    • Other supply chain technologies: includes product lifecycle management, transport management, labor planning, or any other processes that may benefit from computer enhancement.
    • Automation: this is the key to efficiency and meeting the demands and workloads of peak season. Automations included automated picking tools, robotics, and replenishment systems. 
    • Integrated systems: an effective WMS will integrate with other tools such as ecommerce sites, online marketplaces, shipping companies, billing and invoicing systems, and labor planning systems, as well as barcode scanners, hand terminals, and mobile printers.

Planning for peak season? A WMS can help!

With automation tools, warehouse efficiency planning, real-time data, and 24/7 visibility into your operations, WMS software can help you plan for a great peak season and set you and your clients up for success year-round. To learn more about how Logiwa can help your business, contact a member of our sales team to request a free demo of our system. 

Three takeaways for peak season planning

  1. Evaluate the state of your warehouse and make the necessary enhancements to key elements before peak season.
  2. Use historical data and real-time monitoring to develop the best game plan.
  3. Implement the right technologies for your needs and make sure they stay up-to-date.

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