Get Ready for the Holiday 2005 Sales Season
* Review training programs as to their effectiveness and timing in relation to your hiring plan. Hire and train seasonal help well in advance of when you’ll need them. While you don’t want workers sitting around idle, you also don’t want to be caught short when the holiday orders start pouring in. Start the hiring process early enough so there’s also reasonable time for adequate training.
* Develop a plan for managing and supervising the seasonal increase in staff. Have trained supervisors ready to control the staff increase. The supervisors should integrate seasonal workers as much as possible into their full-time staffs. For example, you can boost productivity of seasonal employees by offering them the same incentive programs you give regular staffers, and by making them eligible for flexible hours, special discounts and other perks.
Step #4: Plan Your Systems
* Review your warehouse computer system’s effectiveness from last season, and plan for necessary changes before the holiday season.
* Maximize your system’s ability to direct warehouse activities efficiently. Warehouse management systems (WMS) integrate scheduling, resource planning, logistics, and even transportation and light manufacturing functions into one package. If you have any or all of these systems functions, reap the benefits of them during your peak operating times. But even if you have a more basic WMS package, be sure you’re using all of the capabilities your system affords.
* Be sure any procedures/systems that are volume sensitive can handle your projected holiday activity volume. Go through marketing’s and merchandising’s projections to see where the volume levels are expected to rise during the coming season. This will help you anticipate peak activity levels. Be sure your system can process peak volume levels without slowing down.
* Test the flexibility of your systems. If you plan to add new merchandise or a whole new category, or if you’ll change the way you process orders, test now how this change will respond in the system. If your system requires alteration, you still have time to do that. Remember, a systems change could take a day or months, depending on the complexity. The good news is, most operations systems are underutilized, and so there likely still is room within the confines of your current system to accommodate additional functionality.