As the holiday season quickly approaches, it’s a good time to prepare. Unfortunately, with an ever-increasing amount of data, an increasingly complex and varied competitive landscape and demanding customers, the question is often: Where to begin?
Some ways to prepare your supply chain for the holiday season are pointed out in Dun & Bradstreet’s blog post on “Prepping Your Supply Chain for The Holiday (or Any Busy) Season.” Here are some of the highlights:
- Gather data, monitor trends and track outcomes. Use supply chain analytics tools as the more you know about your customers’ demographics, preferences and shopping—as well as what worked and didn’t work for the next season so you’re not starting from scratch—the better prepared you can be to manage seasonal demand.
- Negotiate delivery terms. Try to maintain non-seasonal rates with minimal transit times to reduce carrying costs.
- Be flexible. Be ready to make adjustments by considering risks ahead of time.
- Make connections. Stay close to suppliers and build longer term, collaborative relationships.
- Make contingency plans. Not only understand risks, but have mitigation strategies established for high risk, high probability events.
- Lengthen your timeline. The retail holiday season starts earlier and earlier each year, so start preparing for next holiday season soon after this one ends.
- Liquidate leftovers. Free up valuable space by liquidating items fast that aren’t selling.
So to have really happy holidays, consider the above and realize that your company needs to have a lean, agile supply chain in order to “expect the unexpected.” If yours isn’t, then you’ll suffer from sub-par performance and higher-than-expected costs to recover from service failures and be at a competitive disadvantage.