The holidays are busy for everyone, especially stores and warehouses. Customers expect to get their items quickly and correctly so they can wrap them in time for Christmas. A small delay can cause a slew of problems, so it's best to avoid them at all costs. Here are some tips to stay on track with holiday order fulfillment.
Warehouses and retailers try their best to predict which items will be in demand throughout the year. However, there is no guaranteed way to know this until the orders actually come in. If there are high-demand items that you were not anticipating, adjust your order fulfillment strategies to fit the data. You may need to re-organize an area of the warehouse to make it easier for pickers to access these items, or you may need to adjust your picking zones so the work load is better balanced. This will ensure efficiency throughout the holiday season.
Because of the increased workload for this time of year, you may need to hire seasonal workers to keep the pace up. If you try to do everything with your current staff, they may become overworked. This will decrease their productivity and lower your morale. With the help of seasonal workers, you can maintain a healthy work environment and improve your chances of efficient order fulfillment.
The sooner you can catch a mistake with order fulfillment, the better off you'll be. For instance, if you notice an incorrect item in an order before it is completely boxed and labeled, you can remove or replace it with ease. If you notice that issue after the order has been shipped, it will take a lot more work to correct the problem. Set up check systems to prevent mistakes, where each member in the order fulfillment process looks over the last person's work. Once you get a rhythm going, this will become second nature for all the workers.
Safety is more important now than ever. The holiday season is chaotic, and the extra seasonal workers will create more moving parts in the order fulfillment system. If you slack on safety, someone could get seriously injured or products could get severely damaged. Don't let the need to be productive cloud your judgment about warehouse safety operations. Keep aisle clear, keep workers accountable, and keep everyone as safe as possible.
Some employees may naturally be more productive than others. This doesn't mean that you should work them to the bone, but you should put them in areas that need an extra boost. For instance, if there is one step in the order fulfillment process that is always delayed, you may pull one of your extra-productive workers to help out there. The area they left may slow down a bit, but you will have a better balance throughout the warehouse.
As long as you make the right adjustments at the right times, you can survive the demands of holiday order fulfillment.
For more information about warehousing, Contact Overflo at 1-800-626-0616
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