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Is your warehouse ready for Black Friday?

15/11/16

 

Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, not just on the high street, but online too.

Like it or loathe it Black Friday is fast becoming part of our shopping culture. The festive fueled shopping frenzy takes place on November 25th this year and no doubt will will once again see images of shoppers literally falling over themselves to make a saving or grab a deal.

However, more-and-more consumers are turning to the internet when it comes to finding a bargain that’s why it’s imperative that, if you run an online business, you and your warehouse are prepared for Black Friday, as it is fast becoming an annual event in the retail calendar.

Time may not be on your side but here are a few things you should consider in order to make sure your warehouse ready for Black Friday.

Be prepared

There are many things you need to think about so you get your warehouse ready for Black Friday.

We’d suggest you think about things like:

  • What changes will need to be made as you get busier?
  • What’s likely to happen?
  • What problems are you expecting?
  • What happens if things do go wrong?

Stock

You’ll need to speak to your clients, your purchasing department or your suppliers to make sure that you’ve got the right levels of stock in.

This will help ensure that customers can buy the things they want, and you can despatch them.

Organization

Organizing your warehouse better might be a good idea to make your more efficient and effective at this busy time.

You could look at things like:

  • Ensuring you have all product information you need
  • Checking levels of sundries like packing tape, boxes and labels
  • Moving stock around
  • Making tools, equipment, scanners and other items easier to get to
  • Labelling things better
  • Training new staff well before they are needed

Different channels

Remember you or your clients might be selling across several channels and websites.

Perhaps you take orders over the phone and sell via your website and are trialling selling via Amazon and eBay or other leading retailers.

This might mean that your customers have different expectations when it comes to delivery, or you’ll need to increase your stock levels or courier options.

Technology

If you’re using a warehouse management system then you’ll want to make sure that it’s up to the job at this time of year.

Maybe you’d benefit from things like:

  • Improved integration with more courier companies
  • More accurate stock levels across different ecommerce websites such as Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, and Shopify
  • Better reporting providing the information you need when you need it

Now might be the time to think about additional functionality for your WMS.

Staff levels

Ensuring that you have the right levels of trained and enthusiastic staff prepared for long days of hard work will pay dividends.

Maybe you know your existing team can step and manage the busy days, or depending on the size of your business you might need lots of temporary warehouse staff to help you.

Whilst you’ll have your own selection and recruitment processes, you’ll need to make sure that your new warehouse operatives are:

  • Flexible and committed
  • Punctual and reliable
  • Accurate and hard working
  • Able to work individually and part of a team

This will mean that you can concentrate on the other areas of your business rather than trying to find suitable staff at the last minute.

 

Communication – clients to couriers

Good communication is essential in any business at all times of year, and for Black Friday, communication in your warehouse needs to be at its best.

You’ll need to ensure that:

  • Warehouse operatives know exactly what they need to do at all times
  • Customers, clients and suppliers are informed if there are any problems with products or delivery
  • Staff know the deadlines and will inform everyone affected if there are changes

Refine as necessary

Your warehouse will be even busier this Black Friday, so everything needs to run smoothly.

You’ll want to make changes if:

  • Processes aren’t working
  • Communication could be better
  • People are under or over worked

It makes sense change things rather than risk unhappy staff or customers, or ineffective processes that could be affecting revenue.

Review afterwards

When you have finished, you can review how the day went, and see:

  • What went well
  • What needs improving
  • Who / what needed help and why

This means that you know what changes need making for future busier periods.

It might also provide additional weight to business cases such as for:

  • Introducing a WMS
  • Improving the functionality of your existing warehouse management system
  • Replacing old unreliable fork lifts

Build up to Christmas

Whilst Black Friday might be the busiest day, the build up to Christmas is likely to remain busy with long days.

Getting everything right for Black Friday will pay off for the Christmas period.

Speak to Optima

If you want to run a more efficient warehouse, and make technology work better for you, then you’ll want to get prepared for Black Friday.

Need a more efficient Warehouse Management System or additional functionality, or have any particular requirements to process your orders?

Call us on +44 (0) 1270 500 777 and tell us how we can help you.