We all know it will be here soon enough. It feels like the holiday season just ended. It seems like only yesterday when we just removed all the Holiday decorations from the plant and settled in for long, uneventful winter. Yet, all those snafus from this past holiday season keep popping into your memory like a deer in headlights. As we are all well aware, the holidays adversely affects every inch of the supply chain. Regardless of what market niche you serve, that time of year is a bitter-sweet experience.

This year, rather than dig in your heels and prepare for the onslaught, how about becoming more proactive in anticipating issues that will arise and cut them off at the pass? Holiday revelers have added a red-letter day to their holiday calendar: Nov. 30 is now officially Cyber Monday. It has already become one of the biggest shopping days of the entire holiday season. According to figures published by Forbes Magazine, 2019  saw record sales of 94.8 billion dollars in a single day. That’s up 7.4 billion dollars from the previous year.

So, Holiday Creep is in full swing as Black Friday arrives this year on  November 27. BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store) is a relatively new service being offered by more retailers this year, as shoppers look for maximum convenience and time-saving digital shortcuts.

Review Last Holiday Season’s Sourcing Scorecard

The supply chain needs to operate like a finely tuned machine. It only takes a few delays in your production schedule to upset delivery dates. As Jamie Dewing alludes to in his November 15th post in the Proto Plastics post, “79% of businesses with superior supply chain capabilities report above-average revenue growth.”  He points out that companies like “Proto Plastics is a great supply chain partner that guarantees the success and survival of your business amidst intense competition.” Dewing advises that manufacturers review the sourcing hiccups that might have delayed last season’s delivery dates.

  • Consider moving up sourcing delivery dates to accommodate the holiday season’s inevitable year-end rush. This may entail conversations with your customers to explain the last year’s delay problems; also request suggestions as to how to avoid them during the upcoming season.
  • Form a steering committee consisting of representatives from sales, marketing, and IT to review issues and come up with solutions. The discussions may involve internal improvements such as replacing your inventory spreadsheets with a robust inventory management software system that’s capable of red-flagging potential problems before they become problems.
  • Review your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) protocols to assure that all the moving parts of manufacturing and distribution are in sync. An ERP system systemizes the disparate information silos that make cross-departmental communications more difficult. In today’s fast-paced marketplace, it’s essential to integrate planning, purchasing inventory, sales, marketing, finance, and human resources into one cohesive real-time

Employ More 3PL‘s to Remove Bottlenecks

According to Refrigerated and Frozen Foods, 90% of domestic Fortune 500 companies are using 3PL’s for more logistics and supply chain functions. 3PLs often provide services that are customized and specialized to the needs of their customer, making them stakeholders in the operation. 3PL’s are a cost-saving solution when upscaling is not a viable solution. Their services can be customizable to the manufacturer’s specifications and offer a good degree of flexibility.

Provide Logistics and Transportation Services with Incentives  for Enhanced Services

Perform an analysis of past 3rd party vendors from last holiday season and categorize them into groups based on the quality of their service such as a 5-star rating system. Select criteria such as most on-time deliveries, the fewest inventory errors, or being the easiest vendor to work with. Offer incentives such as a preferred vendors list, more billing or even a bonus. Recognize a vendor who went “beyond the call of duty” in their efforts to deliver excellent service to a customer.

At Proto Plastics, Excellent Customer Service is Our Holiday Mantra

Proto Plastics has been serving satisfied customers since 1969 with exceptional, precision plastic molding for today’s exacting requirements. We are the industry benchmark specializing in technically demanding, close tolerance parts required in a diverse array of industries. For more information on how we can accommodate your needs, contact us.

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