Online retailers can benefit the most from sales they make during the Christmas rush, but if your supply chain processes aren’t up to speed, you will miss out big time. To get your supply chain ready for the holidays, there are different areas you should examine and optimize. You can work with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider to gain access to a whole variety of useful tools, from cloud computing to data security. Here are some areas you need to assess before the holidays, and how a 3PL provider can help you.
Your Communications Network
Since your communications network is the spine of your business, you need to be sure that it is secure and flexible. Distributors nowadays require faster, and higher bandwidth to accommodate customer demands to speed up delivery times. A better network also allows for improved inventory management and order coordination among suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers. Assessing the health and quality of your communications network is essential for running an efficient operation. Find out if there are any limitation or constraints within your site, and if your network can handle high traffic volumes and unexpected spikes in usage.
An attractive option for the distribution industry is cloud computing. Considering the logistical hurdles and complex IT requirements that are needed to move goods throughout an international supply chain, cloud computing allows companies to manage their processes better. Companies can manage critical data from transportation and warehouse management systems, and securely share that information with their customers and suppliers. Cloud-based analytics solutions also allow for real-time details on customer purchasing trends, better inventory management and replenishments, and actionable business intelligence. They can also reduce capital expenses, speed up the processing time, and adapt to your changing business needs.
IT and Data Security
Data security and IT is paramount for the success of any organization. Online data breaches, especially in recent years, have caused massive headaches for customers and businesses, leading to irreversible damage to brands. It is also important to note that data breaches are not always perpetrated by external parties. Sometimes, breaches can occur because of simple mistakes and a lack of oversight from within an organization. Thankfully, new systems can help distributors protect their customers, assets, suppliers, and brand reputation by assessing any physical and network vulnerabilities and putting strong data security practices into place. Some options include the following:
● Provide training for employees on how to recognize security breaches
● Make a habit of frequently changing administrative passwords to avoid Brute Force attacks
● Develop a strong data breach response plan, and routinely conduct mock drills of cybersecurity incidents to test the system
Wise Packaging & Supply Chain Health
It’s one thing to benefit from increased sales over the holidays, but once those sales are made you need to be sure that they arrive at your customer’s doorstep securely. If you do not consider the right kind of packaging for each product, it can have a negative impact on your supply chain. For one, improper packaging leads to an increased risk of damaged products, unsatisfied customers, increased returns, and wasted time and money on your end. A new, sturdy box that can stand up to shipping is essential to making sure the product arrives safely and in perfect condition. You should also make sure your warehouse staff is properly trained on how to remove old shipping labels to prevent any delays. You should take time before the holiday rush to assess if there are any links that could be strengthened as you will not be able to change your system in the middle of the busy season. Being proactive goes a long way to making sure you can optimize your chain. Start by making sure your shipping labels are correct and in good supply, then find out if your delivery provider can help you get your products to customers faster and safer, and explore additional tracking options to keep your customers up to date on delivery expectations.
Extra Stocks: Fill Your Inventory Stocks
The Christmas and holiday season supply chain needs to be able to handle an increased number of customers, and your inventory stocks should be full enough to meet those demands. Make sure your supply chain management is the best it can be, and ensure that you have extra of all the products you offer. Get your orders in early for restocking, because other retailers will also be doing the same.
Check Supplier Inventory Levels
Staying in communication with your supplier is crucial during this season to prevent shortages in the supply chain. Shortages could result in lost profits during the holidays, frustrated customers, delays and loss through the end-to-end supply chain. You should also ensure that your supplier is compliant with shipping tolerances so that your inventory arrives on time.
Use Data-Driven Insights
Business Intelligence (BI) tools can help you achieve real-time insight into critical supply chain functions. These tools include data sharing, reporting, and tools, and they work together to help companies provide operational efficiencies, build better relationships with their suppliers, and ensure better pricing during the holiday rush.
Get Help from Lean Supply Solutions
If you are looking for warehousing and distribution in Toronto to help you get through the holiday rush, give Lean Supply Solutions a call. We make ourselves aware of the rising trends in the supply chain and always strive to stay up to speed, especially during the Christmas season. We commit to being aware of our clients’ operations challenges as they arise and help them get the most out of their processes. Our 3PL, packaging, product fulfillment, and supply chain management can streamline your processes for better success. Lean Supply Solutions is able to offer consistent, accurate, and quality results by striving to ensure that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, while saving you money. To learn more about outsourcing to our 3PL distribution team, or to ask any questions, contact us at 905-482-2590.