Last year, research by Periscope found that more than half of UK respondents participated in ‘Black Friday’ sales. Originally a US tradition, 2017 saw global participation from retailers and consumers soar to record heights (participants rose by 39% in the UK, 33% in Germany and 22.5% in Canada) with many more expected to join this year’s frenzy on the 23rd November.
For consumers, the allure of products at such steep discount rates are a dream come true, for supply chains they can be a managerial nightmare. The common issues of logisticians facing such high demands in a concentrated timeframe can be avoided with timely and meticulous planning, but also by leveraging recent advancements in delivery chain software.
A limited amount of trucks for an infinite amount of products
The continuation of the HGV driver shortage is adding extra strain to transport managers in a period where more vehicles than ever are needed. Stavely Head, a UK courier insurer, found that the number of vehicles delivering Black Friday parcels in 2017 was 82,000, presenting a 52% increase. This figure is set to rise due to growing popularity of the sales, the dominance of Amazon and significant logistical investment in the APAC market.
For those looking to maximise the productivity of finite fleet numbers, an advanced transport management system (TMS) can enable you to digitally optimise loading for full vehicle efficiency. Automated transport planning also offers electronic billing and identifies faster, more direct driver routes to shorten delivery times; this allows drivers to complete more trips and stay atop extensive workloads. Complete control of multiple pick-ups and drop offs can ensure and maintain high levels of efficiency throughout the year’s most demanding periods.
Successfully manage larger volumes of products and people
It is not only the hiring of extra drivers that sees a surge leading up to the Black Friday sales. The amount of additional staff required on the frontline to deal with the substantial volume of goods is quite incredible. Royal Mail, Amazon and Argos bolstered their seasonal staff by upwards of 49,000 for last year’s sales, marking an increase of 83%.
Adding a wave of extra employees, especially across multiple sites, could dilute productivity if communication is not perfectly clear and where task allocation is not optimally distributed. The latest warehouse management systems (WMS) offer sophisticated order capture, allowing you to manage multiple client workflows under high demand. Your task allocation can also be simplified by a pick wave generator, a feature that can digitally quantify the appropriate manpower needed for your basic and bespoke operations.
The strain of warehouse infrastructure, namely the amount of space needed to store the abundance of extra stock, is also a concern for supply chain managers. WMS can greatly increase your warehouse capacity by accurately predicting all of your picking requirements, including product status, location, quantity and priority. Such precise management of your warehouse inventory and replenishment can not only save space but make full use of your warehouse infrastructure.
OBS Logistics offers customers the ability to integrate WMS and TMS, successfully providing warehouse and transportation synergy to logistics companies. This electronic data interchange (EDI) gives full visibility and accessibility to supply chain managers which is perfect for a sudden influx in business.
Technological advancements in software solutions have resulted in greater efficiency, visibility and seamless operations for supply chains. Although Black Friday season is the perfect time to have modern solution, implementation can help your business reap the benefits of automated logistics management all year round, inclusive of the busier periods.