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From a leading logistics provider

September 1, 2016
Why it pays to be prepared for Christmas

In this blog we’ll look at why it pays to plan your logistics requirements well in advance of peak trading periods like Christmas.

For many businesses Christmas is their make or break trading period and with this peak trading time fast approaching (well, it is the logistics world) retailers should now be reviewing and planning any changes they might need to their logistics requirements. With so much riding on getting it right, there’s no such thing as over-planning. Robust contingency plans must be in place as delayed or failed deliveries can damage a businesses profits.

Businesses know when their peak trading weeks will occur but many don’t plan for it far enough in advance. It’s not just planning the logistics of the sales stock that needs to be considered but all the marketing POS (point of sale) material and advertising needs careful planning well in advance. Getting your logistics plans in place in good time is essential in making sure you meet your customers’ expectations during any peak trading period whether it be Black Friday, Christmas, Easter or any other peak selling time.

With adverse weather, the impact of one off trading days such as Black Friday and more demanding customers, contingency planning is essential to ensure successful peak trading.

More demanding customers

Customers are demanding ever an increasingly faster, seamless online experience. With delivery deadlines/time slots also decreasing it’s important for retailers to plan well ahead for the busiest periods. Customers instinct is to leave ordering until the last minute to order yet still expect a speedy delivery. Even during peak periods, it’s important that customers shouldn’t notice any difference in the service they receive. To them the process should remain seamless so they don’t experience any dip in delivery times or the service they receive throughout the year. A bad customer experience particularly at this time of year can affect a businesses reputation and have a long lasting, adverse effect.

The rise of e-fulfilment has greatly reduced the timescales in which logistics managers must plan and implement supply chain solutions. Bottlenecks often occur in areas of high congestion for example packing areas where large volumes of orders can build up. Logistics planning is essential to meet customer expectations.

Managing promotions/stock

Stock needs to be managed across multi-channels – online distribution centres, physical stores, click and collect location’s etc. While logistics and operations need to work closely with fulfilment and carrier partners to keep channels working efficiently during peak periods the retailer also needs to ensure their promotions, messaging and delivery options don’t promise anything that cannot be delivered. Otherwise customers are likely to become irate and this again could damage a businesses reputation and cause a logistical nightmare.

Collaboration

It’s vital for retailers and suppliers to collaborate with their logistics partners to ensure stock is where it needs to be – either in store or in the warehouse ready for picking, packing and despatching. More open communications and data sharing across the whole fulfilment supply chain is required and additional capacity and resources need to be put in place to cope with the projected demand.

Forecasting

Retailers need to get smarter at predicting peak volumes and be able to accurately forecast sales. Forecasts should be regularly reviewed as both manufacturers and logistics providers may not be able to make up an unplanned deficit at the time.

One of the key areas requiring detailed forecasting is the amount of space required for storage and distribution activities. Have you got the space to fulfil the requirements or do you need an overflow solution? At Johnston Logistics UK we have 640,000 sq ft of ambient warehousing facilities on a 130-acre site with the flexibility to offer scalable logistics solutions to businesses.

Transportation

There also needs to be an increased focus on transportation network management, especially at Christmas. With transportation usually booked several months in advance during peak trading there is little or no extra capacity in the market.

At Johnston Logistics UK we can schedule additional transport requirements to ensure customer service is maintained, freeing up space in your premises and the warehouse to manage the increased frequency and volume of deliveries. We can provide flexible transport solutions to absorb any unexpected events.

Returns process

It’s also important to consider the returns process and make sure this is also primed for increased returns levels during the peak period. Reverse logistics, needs to be factored into your logistics process and plans. In particular, attention must be paid to how to manage, service and process returns quickly in order to be able to get them available for sale again as quickly as possible.

How Johnston Logistics UK can help

Do you have the necessary storage space, mechanical handling equipment and transport contracts to cope with the peak demand? If not, then partnering up with a professional logistics provider such as Johnston Logistics UK makes sense.

At Johnston Logistics UK our logistics expertise comes from our many years’ experience in working in partnership with our customers. We provide a flexible and fully scalable range of logistics services including:

At Johnston Logistics UK we have 640,000 sq ft of ambient warehousing facilities on a 130-acre site with the flexibility to offer scalable logistics solutions to businesses.

We can offer the full range of 3PL services including: bonded and standard warehousing, transport and distribution, order fulfilment, stock management, pick and pack and reverse logistics (returns handling).

With our sophisticated warehouse management system, we can track, divert or reallocate inventory as needed. We have the experience and facilities to be able to manage businesses logistics operations and ensure continuity of supply and excellent customer service. Please contact us if you need to improve the management of variability and seasonality in your logistics services.

For more information, call us on 01953 888381.

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