4 Tips to Ensure Efficient Operations During Peak Season

Aug 22, 2012 8:02 PM  By

It’s that time of year when seasonal businesses are gearing up for the avalanche of orders that are anticipated to come throughout the holidays, particularly in December. By now, most seasonal businesses have either begun, or are already well into hiring for the fourth quarter. In addition to making sure the teams are hired and well trained, you’ll also want to make sure you’ve planned logistically for a successful peak. Below are four simple tips to help ensure efficient operations during the busiest time of year.

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Multichannel Merchant
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Multichannel Merchant
O+F Operations and Fulfillment

Assign seasonal team groups
During the peak, particularly in December when the warehouse is swimming with seasonal team members and the orders are rolling in, it’s helpful to assign team members to specific picking and packing groups. You can then sort and distribute orders by group each day. This helps maintain organization at a time when it can get pretty crazy, and it also creates familiarity among the group with the types of orders they will be responsible for fulfilling.

Use color coding in the warehouse
Use color coding to identify isles or bays in the warehouse where products are staged. This is especially helpful during the time of year when inventory movement is high among seasonal items that don’t normally have a year round location in the warehouse. It helps to make the picking process more efficient because team member groups can then be assigned orders that are sorted for specific color sections of the warehouse. You’ll want to make sure you’ve mapped this out in advance.

Pre-shift meetings
It might sound too simple, but during the peak month of December it’s especially important to host brief meetings at the beginning of each shift so the team can strategize for the day. Shift supervisors can give an overview of what to expect, as well as update on any special situations that might be on the horizon. Being as prepared as possible is a must, and though surprises can quickly occur at this busy time of year, your teams will be better prepared to deal with them.

Schedule the overtime
It’s a good practice to schedule team members for the maximum amount of overtime on their shift. It’s easier to pull back on hours than it is to add them. Team members are better able to plan for this, so rather than putting yourself in a situation where you have to ask them to work longer hours each day, schedule for the maximum and let them off early if the situation permits.

Kim Silva is operations team leader for Fairytale Brownies.