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Are You Ready for Peak Holiday Season

Are You Ready for Peak Holiday Season?

It may be hard to believe, but the holidays are just around the corner.  And for those of us in the supply chain industry that means just one thing: peak season.

According to the National Retail Foundation, Americans spent $658.3 billion during the 2016 holiday season, and that number is only expected to grow for 2017. That means an enormous amount of product moving through the supply chain – and an opportunity for brands to deliver a premium experience by seamlessly taking, fulfilling and delivering orders on time to their customers.

But a successful holiday season means planning – and lots of it. And similarly to holiday gift shopping, the longer you wait to begin that planning, the fewer options you have, and the more expensive it will be to get everything you need.

Luckily, it’s not too late, and we’re here to help with a checklist of items to ensure your supply chain is in peak health for peak season.

Evaluate:

Just like making any other plan, the first step in ensuring your supply chain is ready for peak season is to evaluate where you are today. This means asking questions – everything from how current suppliers and vendors are performing the capacity of your network and the reliability of your IT teams. It also means going outside of your walls and learning about other factors that could affect your performance. Many brands make the mistake of being too insular with their planning, but anything from the local cable company needing to shut internet down for maintenance to overseas vendors closing due to a foreign national holiday can affect your workflow.

PLAN:

Once you’ve evaluated your current status, the next step is to test your capabilities and make a plan for when things go awry. Stress test your network to see how much volume it can handle, and then make a backup plan for getting product through the chain if it goes down unexpectedly. Take a look at your teams and evaluate who needs to be made aware when there are problems, and at exactly what point they will be pulled in. Think about the types of events that could trigger an issue at various points in the supply chain, and come up with solutions to keep them from happening. Having the solutions to these issues on hand will allow you to react more quickly when problems do arise, ultimately lessening their severity and allowing you to transparently communicate the reasons behind any delays or issues to customers.

EXECUTE:

The final step in the process is to put these plans into action as peak season kicks off. But before you do, make sure you’ve taken the time to communicate these plans to your entire team – everyone from internal warehouse personnel and IT teams to external vendors and partners. Making them aware of the plans and protocols they will be expected to follow will create an environment of transparency, ensuring things run smoothly, even when issues arise.

Peak season can be overwhelming, but having a plan – and various contingency plans – in place can take much of the burden off of teams and help you to feel prepared for whatever comes your way. Here at ModusLink, providing end-to-end supply chain solutions is our specialty. Check out our solutions page to learn more about how we can help you prepare.

Navigating Retail Complexities & Avoidable Costs as e-Commerce Companies Go Brick & Mortar

Navigating Retail Complexities & Avoidable Costs as e-Commerce Companies Go Brick & Mortar

While the wild west of retail has long been reformed, the result has been the creation of a laundry list of rules and regulations that manufacturers and distributors must abide by to avoid major fines.

Online-Grocery-Shopping

Delivering Value: Digging into the Google/Walmart E-Commerce Alliance

With news of Google and Walmart teaming up in an effort to unseat Amazon as the king of e-commerce, many have been wondering what the future of online shopping will look like. While much of the resulting conversations have been centered around voice-ordered shopping though Google’s virtual assistant, what has largely fell under the radar is the impact this alliance will have on an industry ripe for disruption.

Global Market Expansion

5 Ways to Stay Competitive in the Amazon Era

In the time it is taking you to read this sentence, approximately 100 products were just sold on Amazon – and that’s with a conservative calculation of 35 orders coming into the e-commerce behemoth every second.

Not bad for a brand that started as a bookseller out of a guy’s garage. But it could be bad for you—if your brand is missing out on opportunities due to the massive hold Amazon has on today’s consumers.

Amazon Prime Day

What Retailers Can Learn from Amazon Prime Day

We’re all used to Black Friday, and (more recently) Cyber Monday, but it now looks like Prime Day is set to be another date in the shopping frenzy calendar.  Amazon’s third annual Prime Day is July 11th (though deals are already underway – check them out here!), and early projections show that it could generate as much as $1 billion in revenue for the behemoth retailer. Clearly Amazon is doing something right.

Driving Change in Manufacturing & Logistics: Cognitive Technology

Driving Change in Manufacturing & Logistics: Cognitive Technology

When you think of cognitive technology, what comes to mind? Likely one of those funky virtual reality headsets or – if you’re more of a skeptic – an army of robots rebelling to take over all of humanity. But cognitive technology is about a lot more than futuristic-looking toys and speculation about the future, specifically when you consider its various applications in the manufacturing and logistics industries.

Driving Change in Manufacturing & Logistics: Autonomous Machines

Driving Change in Manufacturing & Logistics: Autonomous Machines

It seems today that every major automotive company is focused on developing autonomous vehicles. From Uber working to develop a fleet of driverless taxis to automakers like Toyota and Mercedes leaking plans for their own autonomous cars, the world has gone crazy over driverless vehicles.

Driving Change in Manufacturing & Logistics: Consumer Behavior

Driving Change in Manufacturing & Logistics: Consumer Behavior

Today’s shopping experience is nearly unrecognizable to that of just twenty years ago. In the past two decades, consumers have shifted where, when, why and how they shop. Gone are the days of shopping exclusively in brick-and-mortar stores. Shopping today no longer requires you to leave your house, or even your couch, with nearly 8 out of 10 Americans reporting regularly shopping online or from their mobile device.

Driving Change in Manufacturing & Logistics: Bots & Apps

It took 46 years for a quarter of the United States population to use electricity. It only took seven years to reach the same usage of the internet.

Why is that?

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