When fall rolls around, moms gear up for a new school year, retailers stock their shelves for holiday shoppers, and marketers prepare for product launches and year-end deliveries that revolve around the holidays.
Now’s the time to keep in mind how clogged the mail and package delivery channels get between Thanksgiving and the final notes of “Auld Lang Syne.” On your mark, get set, gird yourself!
Fear not. With “planning aforethought,” your shipments will get to their destination on time and unscathed.
Here are 8 valuable tips for holiday fulfillment:
- Make note of the general cut-off dates for holiday delivery for all major carriers. Here are the details for FedEx, UPS, and USPS.
- Storms can impact your deliveries, so keep an eye on weather advisories.
- Share your promo calendar with your fulfillment provider so they can staff appropriately and be prepared for larger-than-normal orders post promotions.
- "Throttle” your order uploads into smaller sub-sets for faster upload and service. For example, if you have 400 orders, upload 100 at a time to minimize your data transfer time and pick ticket printing. This means your fulfillment team can continuously pack orders, while others are still uploading and printing.
- Manage your back orders – a back order during the holidays is a lost order.
- It’s important to have real-time inventory data during the holidays. Know what is available before you commit to filling an order.
- Think about weekend ordering – which typically means there are higher volumes ordered. Talk to your fulfillment provider about having what’s known as a Monday early start (e.g., 4 am) and other strategies to help smooth out Monday morning processing.
- Consider a company that will work weekends and the Friday after Thanksgiving. This will reduce your holiday fulfillment stress like nothing else.
You can take control of your holiday fulfillment plans. Follow these 8 suggestions, and you’ll have more time to celebrate with family and friends as 2014 rolls to a close.