The ability to meet customers’ needs all year long is crucial to a business’ success. However, purchasing inventory is a constant risk that companies undertake, as seasonal demands fluctuate and play havoc with stock levels. For example, some companies do the best part of their sales in last quarter of the year during the holiday period while others could have their sales dependant on weather or specific events like Summer time or Easter.
In order to prepare for that, a business must carefully and effectively manage its inventory levels observing seasonal variations to avoid storing unnecessary items as well as running out of popular ones, especially if they’re promising next-day or same-day delivery!
Manage your Warehouse Space
A good starting place is reviewing your warehouse’s layout to ensure that all areas are ready for the increase in traffic. Next, assess whether you have enough shelf space to accommodate the extra inventory. Because of the temporary nature of seasonal demands, consider storing the supplementary stock in a separate area. That way you’ll be able to access it faster and monitor stock levels easier.
Equipment is as vital to a smooth warehouse operation as workers are. The increase in usage during peak seasons can take its toll on old or poorly kept equipment. Therefore, ensure all your material handling equipment has been well maintained and serviced before holiday or peak seasons. Keeping a calendar is a good way of making sure all maintenance is up to date.
Hire Temporary Workers
In many occasions, warehouses will need extra bodies to handle the additional inventory intake as well as the extra order influx. Temporary employees can be a cost-effective option to fulfil your staffing requirements. It’s important to ensure all your daily operational procedures are well documented to facilitate training. Consider cross-training all your workers to handle a wider range of tasks, that way you will always have coverage for peak times and absences.
Consider Using a 3PL
Using a Third-Party Logistics company (3PL) for extra warehouse storage is another option for handling high volume periods, especially if your warehouse is already operating at full capacity with normal sales levels. Outsourcing to an experienced supply chain partner could assist you not only with storage but also packaging and transportation.
Implement a WMS
A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software solution designed to automate and enhance operational processes. It offers the ability to visualize, manage and report on inventory in real-time across all channels. Thus, it will allow you to maintain high inventory accuracy, optimize store replenishment, avoid over-stock and improve in-stock availability for popular items. Using a WMS also helps you manage and analyse large volumes of data. You can make much more accurate inventory predictions, thus forecasting and planning months and even years in advance!
A WMS will also help you reorganize your warehouse for better efficiency not only during peak times, but for your daily operations all year long. Optimizing storage systems through directed stock rotation, intelligent picking directives, automatic consolidation, and cross-docking ensures no space in your warehouse is ever wasted.
Likewise, your WMS should integrate with your existing ERP, allowing for better resource management during busy periods. Additional modules such as HighJump’s Labour Management solution allow you to track, measure, report, and plan resource activities within your organization to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
With the HighJump platform, iWMS Australasia can offer your business a tailored, configurable and scalable Warehouse Management solution that will meet your exact business needs today and for years to come. Contact us today to discuss your business requirements.