The peak season for e-commerce is just around the corner, but it comes with COVID-19 related challenges that are unlike any other, according to DHL.
As the world attempts to return to some kind of normality following the upheavals caused by COVID-19, supply chains will be under stress this peak season like never before. To help e-commerce businesses, DHL gives these 10 tips to ensure they can make peak preparation a success.
Start planning early
Develop and communicate a strong plan across the organization in order to execute a successful peak season. The big shopping dates begin with Singles Day in China on 11/11,followed by Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and Boxing Day. DHL recommends to start making plans by end of August.
Pretend it’s already the peak season
Practice and surge test typical peak demands before the season begins. “We recommend that you hold and push your volume throughput a few times to the volume that you project to manage during peak, prior to it becoming a reality,” said DHL.
Engage your teams
Communicate with your operations teams and galvanize them for the intense and stressful weeks ahead. Spending some quality time with the team before and after is key to getting them up to speed. Also ensure to on-board any temporary staff in time to have them ready for peak season.
Test your Business Continuity Plan
Review your Business Continuity Plan to make sure it’s up-to-date. Be sure all the contact details and processes are accurate and ready to be deployed if needed.
DHL says that now is the time to work together, analyze trends and demand and review them against your existing plans. Always work with three volume scenarios: firstly optimistic ones, second conservative ones and finally your expected projections. You should also work closely with your marketing team on any promotion or marketing campaigns which could trigger unplanned volumes.
Learn from the past months
Remind yourself of the previous year’s results and learn from them. Review the previous month’s consumer and sales data to predict the future. Many companies have seen unprecedented volumes in the first quarter of 2020 which should indicate the scale of growth they can expect in the fourth quarter. Conduct a detailed review of successes and failures, keep these in mind and make them visible to your team to ensure they consistently apply improvements learned.
Review labor planning
Get ready for the increased demand by identifying the talent required and any potential new starters that are necessary, prior to the peak season. This gives you the time to align them to your company values and train them on how the organization will efficiently deal with all its orders. Use labor planning tools for each of your critical positions so that you can assess required capacity.
Get your ‘house’ in order
Make sure you have organized your facility and that your operations are ready to go. If you imagine hosting a party at your house, you would want your home to be clean and ready before all your guests arrive—it’s no different for a warehouse or factory, DHL said.
Finalize any system changes
Resolve any outstanding technology issues prior to the peak season to avoid order or shipment delays. A delay or systemic issue during the peak season could become catastrophic in just a couple of hours, so ensure that your technology team is connected to your operation and execution team.
Have spare parts available
If your e-commerce business is supported by automation, it’s important to have the spare parts you need to keep your facility operating at 100%.