We’re now a full week and a half into December and the holidays are officially upon us. Here, at Case Mason, we understand that the holiday season has the ability to make or break your company’s year and how stressful that realization can be. While there’s always bound to be an abundance of rush orders and surprises during this time of the year, the stress that comes with those things can be avoided, or at least minimized. You might be asking yourself, “How can the stress be avoided if rush orders and surprises come out of left-field every year during the holiday season?” The answer: Planning.
Everyone knows that the holiday season presents the biggest sales opportunities of the entire year. In order for your company to capitalize on those sales opportunities and maximize profitability during the holiday season, you must be properly prepared for the inevitable onslaught of rush orders. If you’re an established company, you should have years of data showing holiday season orders by SKU, revenues, inventory levels, freight costs and profit margins; plus have a firm handle on your market share. Examining that data and understanding year-to-year trends will give you a good idea of what next year’s holiday season will bring.
Another factor to consider when planning for next year’s holiday rush is whether or not your company is set to release any new products in the coming year and what the projected sales for those new products are. After analyzing the year-to-year trends and factoring in the projected sales numbers for new products, it should be clear as to what your company will need to do in order to be fully prepared for the most crucial time of the year.
Once the numbers have been crunched and analysis is complete, it’s time to act on that analysis and start organizing the supply chain plans so that production periods can be scheduled far in advance. Starting the procurement process early can have a massive effect on the entire holiday season because it allows for production to begin at an earlier date, which reduces the risks of missing order fulfillment dates, rush charges and ultimately letting down the end consumer. Bottom line, if the supply chain is not organized effectively, the holiday season is likely to turn into a nightmare.
If this holiday season was a challenge for your company, now is the time to start planning for next year. An effectively planned and managed supply chain strategy is the first step toward a successful holiday season. Production, inventory management, revenue and profitability are all reliant on the supply chain. If your supply chain is not managed properly, raw materials will not arrive to your production facility on-time or you will have to pay a premium to have your materials delivered in a timely manner. That, in turn, pushes production dates back, which then leads to missed order fulfillment dates and low inventory levels. Missing order fulfillment dates and/or having low inventory levels results in retailers or consumers not receiving their products on-time, and that is never a good situation.
Not only will an organized and well-managed supply chain reduce stress levels during this time of the year; it will yield cost savings that go directly to your bottom line. Now that’s something every company can get behind!