By this point in the peak season, most of us who work in fulfillment need an extra sales surge about as much as we need a hole in the head. After all, order volumes are already at their highest and our fulfillment centers are usually working overtime and at full capacity already.
Flash Sale Surges Explained
But just like the Grinch couldn’t prevent Christmas from happening, we can’t stop these extra surges from coming – especially not if our marketing departments are effectively doing what they were hired to do: generating as much extra business as possible through seasonal ads, catalogs, coupons and direct mail campaigns.
Six Tips to Overcome Flash Sales
Here at Verst, we feel your pain, because over the years, we’ve partnered closely with numerous companies who experienced major sales spikes late in the holiday game. And, while we can’t make ALL of that pain go away this holiday season, we can at least recommend a few practical remedies. For example:
- Think about establishing a temporary replenishment area just behind your pick lines. This will enable pick locations to be replenished much more quickly and keep order picking flowing more smoothly than having to pull replacements from a general storage area.
- Consider relocating your order picking area closer to your conveyors (if you use them) to minimize the travel time that takes place between them. You’d be surprised at how quickly such travel time adds up – and what a positive difference in throughput such a change can make.
- Look closely at what kind of picking processes and systems you’re using. Sometimes a switch from one method to another (like using zone picking rather than having the same person pick a single order from start to finish) can shave significant time off the average fulfillment time per order and add significant order filling speed.
- Contact your local carrier rep to see if you can negotiate a slightly later pick-up time while your special promotion is running. The worst they can say is no – and if they say yes, it could buy you an extra half an hour or more of extra order-filling time per day.
- Consider a shift to hands-free, voice directed picking. In addition to being considerably faster, it’s also much more accurate, which will eliminate the time you have to spend correcting mis-picked orders or re-shipping replacements to consumers who have already received such orders.
- And of course, think about adding some extra fulfillment capacity by working with a third-party logistics provider. It will give you access to everything from extra space and staffing to state-of-the-art systems and could really be a game-changer.
Want to know more? Give us a shout, and we’ll be happy to get back with you (even if it’s after the holiday rush rather than before it).
Read other blog posts from this 12-part series entitled "The 12 Days of Peak Season":
Day 8 of 12: Eight Costs A-Growing (Rising Fulfillment Fees)