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Generally speaking, winter is one of the busiest shipping seasons for a few different reasons. But the 2021 winter shipping season is slated to present a few new unique challenges to businesses the likes of which many companies haven't fully strategized for.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic along with driver shortages continue to wreak havoc on every industry. Therefore, it is critical that companies take measures now to ensure that they are ready for the next peak shipping season.
Let's take a look at a few of the most important things businesses need to really consider this winter.
In order to ensure readiness for this busy time, businesses need to begin implementing a few best practices in order to handle the demand.
Businesses need to leverage the best available technology in order to address problems before they even occur. By practicing transparency throughout all portions of the supply chain, companies will be better able to communicate needs to other entities involved in the shipping process. Ideally, this will push supply chains to adopt circular and network supply chain models leading to a better overall system in a number of ways.
One such way to proactively address issues in demand planning is to make use of prescriptive analytics.
No one likes paying extra and businesses equally hate charging customers more. But with the steep rise in e-commerce and demand in general, it is essential that companies reconsider their prices and make sure they will not be eating extra costs during this peak shipping season.
The sooner you can get your orders in to your suppliers, the better. Their system may likely be flooded with orders (especially true during the 2-3 weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday) and you’ll want to make sure that you are able to secure your orders ahead of time.
Of course, this is also where predictive analytics comes in really useful as you look to stock your inventory.
It may sound like basic advice, but it’s crucial that companies streamline their order fulfillment processes before peak season begins. A small error in the order fulfillment stage during one of the busiest times of the year can be catastrophic
Therefore, you’ll want to account for, at a minimum, the following two common order fulfillment issues:
In order to plan most effectively, it is critical that businesses know what they’ll be up against during the rapidly approaching peak shipping season.
As far as truck drivers are concerned, the continued issue of driver shortage is mainly being driven by low numbers of younger workers entering the field. This is in part due to age restrictions for truck drivers, but also because the lifestyle and schedule of a truck driver are not ideal for what most younger workers are looking for in a career.
With regards to peak shipping seasons, this driver shortage will provide an interesting and difficult challenge to navigate this year.
The recent pandemic has left an impact on the economy in many different ways but the biggest shift it propelled forward was the mass transition to online shopping as the default method of purchasing goods. The e-commerce boom happened last year due to people quarantining in their homes and it kicked off a push toward online shopping becoming the standard shopping experience.
Even though many of the in-store shopping restrictions that initially forced people to shop online have been lifted, consumers have discovered how much more they prefer to do their shopping online regardless of whether they need to use it or not.
Now, more than ever, businesses need to focus on digitization, better demand planning strategies, and potentially implementing things such as prescriptive analytics. Doing so will help ensure that companies are equipped and ready for more and more consumers to demand intuitive, efficient online shopping options.
While e-commerce was already well on its way to becoming the preferred shopping model versus brick and mortar retail since its inception, the pandemic highlighted this push even further and helped those who may not otherwise shop online, become more accustomed to doing so.
Due to an ongoing driver shortage, pandemic-related issues, and a general push toward e-commerce, businesses need to be prepared for the 2021 winter shipping season with effective demand planning strategies in place long before the holidays.
In fact, those that do not plan properly ahead of the winter season this year may miss out on what is sure to be one of the busiest shipping seasons in recent history.