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Preparing Your Business for the Peak Shipping Season – Holiday Season

Preparing Your Business for the Peak Shipping Season – Holiday Season

The 2019 shipping peak season broke records.  This year it will be busy, however, in different ways because of the times.  The transportation and logistics industry is predicting that instead of the hyper-focus on retail during the holiday peak shipping season, the market and customers will impact the supply chains of many industries.  This is why preparation for the holiday shipping season is important to work on now for your business.

Shipping Seasons Defined

They divide shipping into four seasons based on freight and industry demand, unlike calendar seasons the months are not equally distributed.  Whether the season is a high demand for your industry, it will impact both business and personal shipments.

  • Season One – January through March. A quieter season after the rush, LTL shipments are smooth during this time.
  • Season Two – April through July. This is a busy season largely due to produce being in season and trucks are in greater demand.
  • Season Three – August through October. They consider this peak shipping season as preparation for holidays begin. It can be the busiest time for freight.
  • Season Four – November through December. They also refer to this as Holiday Season.  The start of November is busy as everyone is trying to ship last-minute loads.  However, after that things start to slow down, and trucks become more available.  If your shipments are time-sensitive, it is best to utilize expedited LTL in Season 4.

Competitive Shipping Rates

The closer it gets to peak season; the more expensive freight will get and capacity will start to shrink.  By planning in advance, your company can get the best service for a reasonable price and ensure that it will deliver your shipments on time.

Working with a third-party logistics provider will guarantee that you are getting competitive rates as they have relationships with several carriers, giving you the best bottom-line number.

Last Mile and White Glove Service Gaining in Popularity

As more customers take advantage of subscription services and home delivery for items, last-mile shipping strategies will increase in popularity and requests.  The last mile is where the goods from a transportation hub move to their final delivery destination.  The goal of the last mile delivery is to transport an item to its recipient the quickest way possible.

White glove service is taking the last mile to the extra mile.  This is done by unpacking and placing the items in the home or office and taking the empty boxes out.  It allows businesses to expand service levels when Less-than-Truckload (LTL) falls short.  White glove applies to any item that requires extra care, such as valuable, fragile, climate-sensitive, or expensive equipment.

Communication and Technology

Communication will also reshape the shipping peak season as customers value interaction and engagement.  Purchases are at top of mind and providing clear delivery windows and working to build a relationship with customers after the sale.  Including, did it arrive correctly?  Was anything wrong?

Using a Transportation Management System (TMS) that builds visibility capabilities will allow for proactive management at the shipment level.  It also will make the supply management smoother and manageable.

Plan and Prepare for Disruptions

Having a plan in place and preparing ahead of time will make your process proactive instead of reactive.  Here are some ways to get ahead of potential problems.

  • Confirming holiday operating hours with all staff, where the items are being picked up and delivered to.
  • Communicate appointment times among shippers, carriers, and receivers.
  • Communicating early closing times to carriers during inclement weather.
  • Register your carrier’s distribution list for weather-related updates.

Global Transportation and Logistics Provider Can Help

As we move into the fall and winter months, the weather can turn on a dime.  When working with a global transportation and logistics provider they are known for understanding how to plan freight around the weather.  They have experience in working with the holiday season and navigating when the unexpected happens.

Having a plan and executing will ensure that your business’s shipments arrive when they need this holiday season.

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