The holidays are a busy time for anyone working at a 3rd party logistics firm or an order fulfillment warehouse.
For many facilities, orders more than double after Thanksgiving, leaving a huge gap in resources if a fulfillment center isn’t prepared far ahead of time. Workers, equipment, space and patience are all in short supply during the season of giving.
Avoiding a Holiday Season Meltdown
The best fulfillment centers are preparing for the holiday season now. They know that there’s no better way to compete with the big internet retailers than being fast and accurate in order fulfillment. But that’s not all, they’re also intensely focused on worker preparation and skills.
These are just three of the ways that good fulfillment centers prep for the busiest season of the year:
- Train new teams far ahead of time. There’s nothing like hiring a bunch of new workers down to the wire to add stress to an already explosive situation.That’s why most good fulfillment centers hire these people months ahead of time. This gives time to teach each employee their part in order fulfillment as well as evaluate their performance over time. If they’re fast enough, they’re keepers for the competitive holiday season.
- Hire experienced workers. When time is shorter, hiring workers who already know the job is an option.The downside is that these people come at a premium and they’re not shy about that fact. A forklift operator, for example, can make quite good money any time of the year, but that figure jumps if they’re able to provide their services when fulfillment centers are in holiday mode.
- Put their teams into overtime. Other companies choose to offer their regular teams overtime through the holiday season. Certain warehouses have found that their regular team performs better on overtime than new employees can without the added stress. They argue that the extra money helps the employees pay for extra holiday spending, but employees definitely feel the strain.
An Opposite and Equal Reaction By Gift Recipients
Prepping for the holiday season has long been a conundrum for manufacturers and order fulfillment centers, but the stress is higher now than ever. When those order fulfillment centers send something out, there’s a good chance it will come back on the holiday that UPS has made famous: National Returns Day.
It’s the day to kick the reverse logistics team into action, because the boxes are going to start piling up. Depending on the segment of their client base, it’s not unheard of for up to 40 percent of eCommerce sales to end up back in the warehouse where they started.