For apparel merchant Threadless.com and warehouse manager Bryan Schaefer and warehouse director Lance Curran, everything starts with the personnel.
“For us we gave our crew tomorrow and, of course, Thanksgiving off,” Schaefer says. “This way they would have a few days of rest before Black Friday and enter the holiday season refreshed and ready to go.”
Operationally speaking, “it’s all about keeping up with the flow. We will be working 16 hours (two shifts) on Black Friday and throughout the weekend. Come Cyber Monday and until the holiday season is done, we will still be working 16 hours but now over three shifts.”
Schaefer says Threadless will have about 90 workers in fulfillment, 12 in receiving and five doing refill. “We’re approaching this holiday season pretty aggressively so having that cushion of enough workers is the key to our success.”
Curran says one of the areas he plans to focus on this year is last-minute changes by the marketing/production team “that can affect my supply orders.”
Be sure to communicate with other departments, Curran explains, “to make sure the plan is the same or what to expect from different marketing strategies. The warehouse should not be the last to know about changes that could drastically affect how much labor or supplies you’ll need to be able to get through the holiday season and beyond.”