Order fulfillment delays are stressful at any time of year, but they can be particularly worrisome during the peak-shipping season. There are many more orders to complete at this time, which means a small delay can create major consequences. Even with every precaution in place, issues can happen. How you recover from them will determine the overall performance success. Here are some tips for how to handle order fulfillment delays during peak season.
Look for the Source of the Delay
As soon as you notice a delay in warehouse operations, try to find the source of it. Where are things going off schedule? When do the delays first occur in the chain? Once you know where the problem lies, you can figure out how to effectively solve it. Perhaps you need more workers in a certain area, or maybe a machine needs maintenance. You won’t know any of that until you figure out where the issues are coming from.
Panicking does not help anyone or anything. In fact, it creates stress among the workers, which may lead to more errors in the future. Train the warehouse managers to remain calm even in the midst of order fulfillment delays. The struggles you encounter now are only temporary, and with a clear head, you will have a much easier time coming up with a solution.
Enforce Backup Strategies
If the order fulfillment delays are from a faulty piece of equipment or software program, you should have backup strategies in place to compensate for the error. For instance, if part of your inventory management system stops working, you may have a manual system in place to use for the time being. Backup plans are never ideal, but they are better than stopping work altogether. If you do not have secondary systems for the warehouse, you should create them now before an issue occurs.
Use Your Best Workers to Fix the Problem
Chances are your seasonal workers do not have enough training to resolve order fulfillment delays. This is the time when you need to look to your long-term employees for assistance. They will be the ones who can get the warehouse running smoothly again. Let your workers know that they may have extra responsibilities during the peak season, and make sure they are properly trained in those areas.
Notify Your Clients If the Delay Persists
Most order fulfillment delays can be resolved within a matter of minutes or hours. In the case of a major delay though, some orders may be processed a day or more later than they were supposed to be. This creates issues with shipping and every other element of order fulfillment. When a major delay occurs, warehouses must notify their clients and their shippers so they can relay the information to the customers. The buyers may not be happy about the delays, but they will be less upset if the communication is clear from start to finish.