Keeping Up with Peak Demand Volumes While Global Supply Chains are at Capacity
Global supply chains have had many issues thrown at them over the years, but nothing compares to the last two years. The global supply chain currently faces numerous issues, leading supply chains to operate at full capacity around the clock.
In addition to political tensions high across the globe, shipping containers are in short supply and shipping companies struggle to keep up with demand — not to mention all of the manufacturing delays plaguing several industries. This perfect storm makes it essential for supply chains to plan ahead in regards to how to best handle consumer demands this holiday season.
Solutions to Handle Peak Demand
One of the many major challenges of the last several years will be solving the present supply chain capacity planning issues. There is no easy solution, unfortunately. However, it can be accomplished slowly over time if smalls steps are taken to lay a solid foundation for effective supply chain capacity planning.
Maintain Dedicated Staff
Ultimately, the solutions to these issues will come down to the people who carry out the necessary functions on the floor. The people responsible for putting proposed processes into action are the employees picking, packing, and loading goods every day. Individual companies need to shift their focus toward creating and implementing updated staff training as well as incentives for those who go above and beyond to keep these processes moving as smoothly and as efficiently as possible. Training and recognition are two of the most critical elements to building a team that can maintain high standards at the ground level.
In recent years, workers who deal with long hours, low pay, and unappreciative management are more likely to leave the supply chain landscape for other industries. This directly contributes to things like the truck driver shortage, which has increased over the past five years.
Businesses that understand their workers are the cornerstone of every practice the company implements can better maintain a dedicated and reliable staff. After all, now more than ever companies need a team that can help ensure massive, unpredictable fluctuations in demand are met head-on with the proper planning and execution. Additionally, with what is predicted to be one of the most intense peak seasons in recent years, companies that strive to maintain excellence and dedication among their workers will already be at an advantage.
Leverage Your Supply Chain Technology
Many people see automation tech and human workers as an “either-or” situation. In practice though, this is actually not the case at all as automation tech still requires some level of human interaction.
In fact, not only will automation tech not decrease the number of human workers needed to perform specific tasks, it creates new positions and frees up manual laborers to be assigned to other areas within the supply chain that could benefit from extra manpower.
It may not always be feasible for a company to hire on more workers to handle an increase or rapid fluctuation in demand. This could be due to a number of factors, but regardless of the reason, the best solution is to implement some level of automation tech to which they can offload some of the more routine work and even shift more or less over to automation platforms as the ebb and flow of demand calls for it.
Recognize Things May Take a Little Longer This Holiday Season
All of us, from CEO’s of companies to the workers on the warehouse floor, should realize that longer waits for goods are likely to be the new normal for a while. This year, manufacturing delays are causing higher levels of stockouts while logistics bottlenecks compound the issue, making it harder to move said goods. Needless to say, this is probably not going to ease up before the end of the year. According to Reuters, UPS is expecting the holiday surge to create a delivery demand that will exceed capacity by more than 5 million packages per day.
While expecting the 2021 winter shipping season to be a hectic one with some delays still ahead, it’s best to plan accordingly.