Preparing for Q4 2022

As many in the eCommerce world know, with the Fourth Quarter comes a huge spike in retail sales. Companies are finding themselves preparing for Q4 in various ways. Attributed to the liquidation, deals, and gift-giving surrounding the holiday season, many distribution and fulfillment centers, as well as shippers and mailers, see an increase in volume. Based upon data collected by the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, the 2022 Q1 eCommerce sales increased 6.7% over 2021’s first quarter. Given past trends and the continued growth of eCommerce since 2020, some are predicting that growth will continue to Q4 of this year. Though it is an entire quarter away, there are still steps that your business can take in order to mitigate issues.

Increase Staff Presence

Generally, consolidators, Distribution Centers/Fulfillment Centers, and even the largest couriers will hire more workers. However, many businesses across the United States are facing a labor shortage – our previous blog post on the topic provides tips to help with staffing. Temp workers or part-time holiday help may be a resource for those who are able to hire. Businesses have also started offering incentives and benefits outside of traditional pay, including bus passes, on-site resources, and training programs – with varying degrees of success.

Evaluate and Upgrade Equipment

However, hiring more staff may not be in the cards for all. Implementing and upgrading technology to increase processing speed can prove to be helpful to all. Whether it be full automation solutions or making small changes to streamline the process, making sure that all of your equipment is fulfilling its potential is a necessity. For example, if you notice a bottleneck on the intake of goods, a sort-to-light solution can provide for a quick low-level automation solution. Automation solutions improve accuracy, reduce human error, and save time processing and during shipping – which passes on savings to customers and your company.

Maintain Equipment and Act Accordingly

Another important step is to stay ahead. Ensure that machines are up to date on maintenance, and that the equipment is clean and wear-free to reduce potential downtime. Schedule maintenance and support to work out bugs before peak activity, as downtime during the busiest season would be disastrous. Make sure that your team is aware of areas that may require maintenance, such as worn belts, bearings that need to be replaced, or any other items that would impede high volume over a short period of time.

Try to prepare as best as you can using collected data and trends from the past. If you do not have existing accurate data, make it a priority to capture some this season. Attempt to stock up on inventory, shipping materials, and any other item that may become a hot commodity down the line. Though many are struggling with stocking issues currently, consumer expectations for stocked product will only grow by Q4.

Ultimately, being prepared for Q4 will prove to be helpful even outside of the typical Q4 rush. Making sure that equipment, staff, and your parcels are running smoothly will only help your business meet and exceed consumer expectations.

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