If you’re back from your year-end holiday, welcome back! If you couldn’t take a break, you’re probably working in express logistics. Year-end is the busiest time for retailers and express logistics service providers as bargain-hunters snap up coveted items on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day. In China, Singles Day (November 11) brings out online shoppers in full force. Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant hit a record USD25 billion in sales 2017, more than the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in USA combined.
This holiday rush has presented a new set of challenges for express logistics teams. To ensure holiday shipments were delivered in time for Christmas, UPS roped in its accountants, marketers and other office staff, with some of them making deliveries using their personal vehicles. The spike in online shopping has delivery companies competing fiercely for seasonal workers.
In addition to capacity issues, theft of packages left on the home doorstep is another that has cropped up in UK and USA in recent years. Some companies allow customers to collect packages at a convenient pick-up point, like a post office, parcel locker or even police station. Customers can also reroute their packages to a more secure location if they’re not at home, like a trusted neighbor or workplace. Many logistics service providers now offer an app that sends delivery updates via text or email so that customers can be on standby for delivery or call for a reroute.
In the final holiday push, it is critical to ensure that you have supply chain agility from first to last mile. The last mile especially, leaves a lasting impression on your customers as this is the part of the supply chain that is most visible to them.
With disruptions such as worker shortage and weather (winter or monsoon), a planning system that comes with continuous optimization can support re-planning. This will allow your planners to make decisions with control, speed and accuracy; and people on the ground to respond to changes in real time.
The challenges of the holiday season are not quite over. Having a smooth and efficient customer experience from start to finish is essential. Your processors and resources need to support the entire customer experience, from purchasing and order fulfilment to returns.
Planning for next Black Friday and Christmas starts now. Use predictive analytics to anticipate demand and plan your resources such as distribution centers, vehicles and workforce. Thanks to historical data, you can predict the volume of demand in an area, neighborhood or city. You can also learn more about peak hours, driver waiting time and loading/unloading time and use this data to estimate delivery times.
Lastly, remember that communication is key. Quinitq’s single planning platform for postal and express ensures that all your staff and processes are aligned with your company’s business goals. Keep track of multiple KPIs with full visibility of your supply chain so that your operations can adapt to your business reality. To learn about the first to last mile agility that ensure logistics excellence for all seasons, download our solution paper on winning the race in express logistics here.