With the holidays right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to take a look at how holiday shopping affects supply chain operations. It is probably little surprise to anyone that companies need to shift their strategies at this tends to be the most profitable and hectic time of the year.
Why Is It Important to Consider the Holidays When It Comes to Supply Chain Operations?
Now more than ever—particularly considering the ever-increasing advancement toward becoming a global economy—it is crucial that supply chain operations are in ship-shape before the seasonal peak days for holiday shopping, which include:
- The day before Thanksgiving
- Black Friday and the following weekend
- Cyber Monday
- 10-11 days before Christmas
- One week before Christmas
- The weekend before Christmas
Suppliers and producers must keep information flow and primary product flow in check during this critical time of year in the interest of profits and customer satisfaction.
Good Supply Chain Operations Means Never Having to Say “I’m Sorry”
One story of an unfortunate supply chain incident that resulted in a mass "I'm sorry" email is that of Toys ‘R Us from back in 1999. The children's toy seller was unable to fulfill its online orders in time to arrive by Christmas, leaving parents distressed and children disappointed, according to Supply Chain 24/7. Soon after, bad press followed, temporarily disastrous sales numbers and permanently ruined reputations.
Learning from the experience, Toys ‘R Us decided it needed a better supply chain strategy and solution to avoid finding themselves in this predicament again. All companies, no matter the size, need to focus on ensuring smooth operations to manage their supply chain and minimize the effects of unanticipated, yet inevitable, crises which can happen—and many times do happen—during the holidays.
How Can Businesses Best Manage Supply Chain Operations for a Successful Holiday Shopping Season?
Fortunately, there is a simple answer to this dilemma: smart supply chain management. A capable supply chain network with integrated systems understands logistics and is able to initiate and follow any necessary flow of information. It can easily communicate the right strategies and coordinate with everyone throughout the supply chain for on-time delivery of quality products, resulting in customer satisfaction - the ideal outcome for everyone.
Supply chain management strategies should consist of the following:
- A well-connected supply chain including all distribution centers, vendors, stores, etc.
- Collaboration between all source points for materials and/or services
- Visibility all the way back to the manufacturing and production stages
- Transportation management for smart route planning and on-time delivery
- A seamless return system to allow for defective and unwanted items
When put together correctly, advanced supply chain operations aim to minimize costs and reduce shortages.
What You Can Do to Manage Your Supply Chain Operations During the Holidays?
With the right strategy in place, your business can definitely avoid holiday season disasters and enjoy tremendous success without the stress.