It’s very common for a business to earn a substantial amount of their revenue over a short period of time. Peak periods lead to an influx of sales and it seems to happen relatively quickly. These fluctuations are important to prepare for and even more important to capitalise on. Don’t miss out on the peak period revenue because your business wasn’t prepared to handle the rush.
During the downtime, have a closer look at how your business operates across a variety of facets. See if there are aspects that can be improved or streamlined so you can take control of the peak periods when they roll around. Check out the tips below to prepare you for when the business booms.
Hire the right amount of people
When your sales increase, this means work for your staff increases as well. Prepare for peak periods by getting seasonal staff on board early so the workload can be distributed. If your employees get stressed or overworked, it can lead to burn-out. They might call in sick more frequently or not be as productive when they are actually at work. The balance of extra help can create a positive work environment and reassure your full-time employees that you’ve got their back.
Bring seasonal staff on early enough that you have time to train them before the busy period starts. Otherwise, they will be caught in the chaos and not be able to help out as effectively. Make sure they understand the warehouse layout and who their direct reports are. Make sure to create an open and welcoming environment so new staff can ask questions. For instance, it’s likely that you’ll have a specific stock control procedure. Every company is slightly different, so make sure they understand the stock control fundamentals and have someone they can ask questions to if they’re unsure.
Tidy up the warehouse
In preparation for the peak periods, use the downtime to clean up the warehouse. Get rid of dead stock and reorganise the shelves. There will likely be an influx of goods coming in before the peak and there’s no point of unloading them into a messy warehouse. Product allocation needs to be streamlined and staff need to be able to locate items with ease. Block out a good amount of time to tidy up the warehouse to make the peak period easier.
Check in with your supply chain
Supply chain relationships are key during peak periods. Make sure you give your suppliers enough lead time to provide you with the inventory to meet demand. With strong supply chain relationships, you will be able to call on suppliers if you need more inventory in a rush or more product without as much lead time. Although you hope your stock control will be healthy, it’s sometimes hard to predict demand. Call in on your suppliers for a hand if you need extra help over this period.
However, natural disasters, delays in customs and shipping problems can happen. It’s good to have backup suppliers lined up in case your main suppliers cannot meet the requests. Have a solid working relationship with both and line out your expectations before the peak period starts.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.