Cover Story: How to Prep Your Warehouse for the Holidays
It's never too early to start preparing your warehouse for a surge in orders throughout the holiday season. You'll be ready to tackle any bottlenecks in the months leading up to and during the holiday season by following this easy checklist:
1. Develop projections. Accurate order projections are critical in a warehouse environment, especially during the buildup to the holidays. When you know your anticipated order volume, you'll know how much inventory to order and how much storage capacity you'll need. Accurate forecasting also helps you predict the number of seasonal workers that need to be hired to accommodate demand. In addition, you should have a backup plan in place to deal with changes in expected order volume.
2. Review warehouse layouts. Inspect the warehouse layout of each department well before the holiday season. Consider lessons learned from previous holidays and apply them to your warehouse planning and layout design this year. For example, did you need extra trailers or storage space last year? If so, you may need to coordinate additional space ahead of this year's holiday season. Also, double-check that all material-handling equipment is up to date, along with lift equipment, backup power supply, order printers and delivery fleet.
3. Check in with your carriers. Share your projections with key carriers to ensure they have enough capacity to handle high-volume sales around the holidays. Create a backup plan in case any technical difficulties arise with equipment or employees. Lastly, if your warehouse is located in the snow belt, make sure you've contracted for snow removal.
These three tips can significantly improve facility organization, workflows and efficiency at your warehouse ahead of the holidays. And remember to take notes throughout this year's holiday season so you can apply lessons learned to your plan next year.
Maria Haggerty is CEO and one of the original founders of Dotcom Distribution, a premier provider of B2C and B2B fulfillment and distribution services. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration from University of Houston, C.T. Bauer College of Business with a concentration in Accounting. Maria plays an integral role in developing and defining all aspects of the business, including sales and marketing, operations, finance and IT. As CEO, she is responsible for providing strategic leadership, establishing long range goals, and developing strategies for the senior leadership team. Maria has developed the systemic and procedural infrastructure necessary to provide timely and accurate analysis of budgets, financial reports and financial trends in order to assist the Board, senior executives and clients in performing their responsibilities while achieving favorable results. She works closely with the leadership team to enhance, develop, and enforce procedures that will improve the overall operation and effectiveness of the corporation. During her tenure at the Dotcom, Maria has developed an environment of continual improvement by supporting the Senior Leadership Team and their department managers on continuous process, space labor, automation, and financial best practices. Prior to founding Dotcom, Maria was a CPA at Arthur Andersen and was later the CFO of GoodTimes Home Video where she helped grow the company’s distribution business. When Maria is not in the office, she enjoys traveling around the world and practicing her photography skills.