With us now being in the ‘Golden Quarter’ of the financial year, many businesses will be eating, sleeping and breathing holiday sales for the next few weeks as we approach Christmas.
Many warehouses may already have noticed a sharp increase on their inventory demands as a large percentage of savvy shoppers now start their Christmas shopping preparations as early as October. With consumer spending on the rise consistently at this time of year, a great percentage of these customers will be focussed on buying on one day in particular: Black Friday.
Black Friday falls on Friday 24th November this year (2017) and is swiftly followed by a relatively new phenomenon – Cyber Monday (27th November). If the retailers that you supply with your warehouse are to be successful and can profit from what has become one of the busiest shopping days of the year, they will be entirely dependent on your warehouse operation to keep them supplied.
As a warehouse operator, you need to ensure that your ‘front of house’ is up to speed to ensure your warehouse is completely prepared for a sharp increase in demand. Lets look at some top tips about how to prepare your warehouse and staff to make sure your company is truly ‘Black-Friday-ready’!
Check your inventory and move your stock around
Ensuring that your stock records are accurate and up to date is always good practice, but it is worth checking your sales records for this time last year to ensure that your proven best-sellers are front and centre of your picking area for easy and fast retrieval. Seasonal stock that is guaranteed to fly off the shelves for the holiday season should not be tucked away at the back of your warehouse where it usually stays for most of the year.
Also consider any special offers that you may be running. You may well see a swift upswing in sales which may leave a sizeable dent in your supplies. Make sure that you can easily source and refill your stock quickly should you feel that demand may outstrip supply.
Assess your staffing levels
You need to brace yourself for the sudden influx of orders on Black Friday, so it is crucial that you have enough staff on the ground to cope with all the extra work coming into your warehouse. Being prepared is better than being caught out on the day, so get in contact with a local agency to bring in temporary workers to cover your extra needs and to fill any regular staff absences at this time.
Is your warehouse technology working?
Making sure your IT systems are fully functional is another important area to check prior to the big day. Check that your barcode readers are all working properly and that there are no ongoing faults or glitches that may seriously affect or disrupt the smooth order fulfilment processes you have in place. Make sure your warehouse management system is connected so you can keep a constant check on stock volumes and the tracking of orders.
Staff briefing and communications
Communication is the key – brief your staff on the importance of Black Friday sales for the company and make sure that they understand what is expected of them. Reinforce your reporting system to make sure that everyone knows what to do or who to contact should a breakdown occur during operations.
Communicating with your delivery companies that you work with is also an important factor during this busy time. You will almost certainly be needing to book extra deliveries to cope with the volume of goods leaving the warehouse on the day and in the few days following as you rush to dispatch your orders. Many delivery companies have learned a valuable lesson in recent years with the extra demands placed on them because of Black Friday, so many delivery and courier companies now provide extra services during this busy time.
Black Friday will always be a very manic time of the year, but that doesn’t mean you cannot make it a great success. Preparation is the key here, so make the most of our advice and get yourself prepared for one of the year’s biggest shopping days.