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Get Your Supply Chain Ready for the Holidays Featured

Get Your Supply Chain Ready for the Holidays "Christmas Lights"

The 2020 holiday looks different for retailers. The year has had many challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected many things. One of the areas that have been affected substantially is the supply chain. However, despite the challenges,  sales are projected to increase this year, considering many people have opted to purchase products from e-commerce platforms instead of using brick-and-mortar stores. As the number of e-commerce orders rises, there will be an increase in the type of services, including last-mile package deliveries and transportation and inbound shipment of items, among others. This calls for careful planning and change of strategy in supply chain management.

Here are a few tips that you should consider as you prepare to enhance your supply chain for the upcoming holiday season:

  1. Ensure that there is visibility in your supply chain and orders

By taking advantage of technology, you can provide your customers with Amazon-like experiences by allowing them to track their products in real-time from source to destination. The customer can receive notifications about their products and can know when their products have been delayed at a given point through alerts. Tracking enables customers and suppliers to know where their items are when to expect and the delays that they might experience and when the products might arrive at their destination, for better planning.

  1. Connect with more carriers to get more rates

As a supplier, you might want to engage with carriers that have lower rates, delivers products fast, and offers security for your items. You can only get this if you connect and talk to many carriers to enable you to understand their prices and the services they offer then compare them side-by-side. Select the one that offers the best cost-savings and better customer service since all we are looking for is profit. Always choose the carriers carefully because you will not want the products needed by the customers to be delayed as this will cause untold disappointments and may cost you customers in the end. 

  1. Scan the market to make up for excess market not covered by carriers

There will always be a group of customers with unique needs that will not be covered by a single carrier. As such, look for alternative carriers that will address their needs and leverage on their negotiated rates. Compare their prices to find the best service with the capacity to meet the excess customer demand.

  1. Get products that are as local to customers as possible

Delivery time is a leading challenge to many retailers during the holidays. Many retailers are trying their best to ensure their customers get their products in time by shortening the delivery journeys. One of the approaches that many retailers use is the acquisition of new, smaller warehouse space, that is as closer to the customers as possible to shorten delivery time and journey. Try as much as you can to shorten the distance because the shorter the distance, the faster the delivery—also, the faster the delivery, the lower the cost.

  1. Integrate transport management platforms with internal systems

The integration of systems reduces paperwork and the problems that come with handling large amounts of paper documents. Doing this will also cut admin hours since the shipment data will be populated to the ERP system making it easy to carry out record-keeping activities. It will also provide stakeholders with complete visibility, enabling information to be leveraged to manage claims and decision-making.

In whatever you do, ensure that your customer is pleased and that you have what they need at the right time to celebrate the holiday. It would help if you had a lean and agile supply chain with no additional cost or failures to compete favorably.

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