If your warehouse is expected to receive an influx of inventory, shipments and returns this festive season, then it might be a good idea for you to start planning how your business will cope with the increased demand that Christmas brings. With more people than ever before shopping for their gifts online this year, consumers are expecting extensive product availability and impressive delivery times, hence why many choose to go through companies like Amazon.
But while Amazon has cracked both the availability and the delivery of an enormous range of products, some businesses are still yet to make their mark on the industry in that respect, with many finding it difficult to keep up with the distribution giants. But there are still several things that every warehouse owner can do to keep up with increased demand this Christmas, ensuring your operations continue to run as smoothly as possible during these busy times.
Hire temporary seasonal workers
One of the biggest mistakes you can make during the festive period is to not have enough hands on deck. Everyone needs to be utilised and even then, it can often not be enough to get the job done, hence why several companies, including supermarket giants such as Tesco, are looking to employ temporary seasonal workers.
Not only is this a cost-effective, almost immediate solution, with many temporary workers able to start straight away, it will also help to relieve the stress and pressure felt by your permanent workers during such a demanding period. It will also save you the cost of permanent staff doing overtime and possibly even working during unsocial hours, so it’s a win-win situation all-round by hiring temporary employees this Christmas.
Retrain your current employees
Although this might seem like the wrong time to retrain your staff, it’s actually the perfect time to keep them up to date with certain policies and safety measures that are in place throughout the premises. Even your most seasoned warehouse workers should undertake retraining, mainly for safety reasons rather than to improve productivity levels.
Some of the retraining sessions you put on could include relearning or recapping on how to do the following:
- Package items with minimal waste, this stops smaller items from being put into large boxes, for example
- Safely and effectively load racking with inventory
- Operate heavy machinery responsibly
- Calculate the cost based on dimensional pricing
- Handle the stress over the Christmas period
- Recycle and reuse to help save money and the environment
- Maintain a good work/life balance
Update and reconsider your warehouse layout
During the festive season, it’s likely that your warehouse is housing more inventory than it would normally do the rest of the year. With this in mind, you might find that you’ll have to move a few products around in order for your employees to navigate effectively and safely through the warehouse whilst still being able to carry out their roles efficiently.
You can use projections and forecasts to predict what items sell well at this time of year and the ones that don’t. Use this data to organise your racking, putting best-sellers at eye level whilst also being quick and easy to retrieve. Put your worst-selling items towards the back, but still make sure they’re accessible as you might well receive a few orders.
Even though product turnover will be high this Christmas season, make sure you’re performing stock rotations regularly, especially when it comes to perishable goods. You want to make sure that your consumers are receiving the best possible items of the highest quality regardless of what they order and when they order it.
When redesigning your warehouse layout, make sure your best and worst selling items are reflected in that in order to reduce waste and save money. If you refresh the layout of your premises, then you’ll be able to see exactly how much stock you have and so you won’t be over-ordering inventory needlessly or under-ordering.
If you over-order you might have to throw stock away when the market slows down again and if you under-order, you could end up with several different products being made unavailable and this isn’t good for customer retention. Mitigate all of the aforementioned problems by reconsidering your warehouse layout this festive period.
Perform general maintenance on your machines & your premises
Part of staying on top of the Christmas rush is maintaining a good working environment and that includes making it safe for your employees. One way to keep your workers protected from harm is to keep your premises clean and clutter-free and it also means regularly checking and maintaining the vehicles that they’re required to drive, including forklifts, reach trucks, order pickers and more.
Keeping your premises tidy will prevent your staff from suffering slips, trips or falls. If they do have an accident then they might need to be off for several weeks in order to recover – something that can negatively impact the performance of a warehouse. Even with one person missing from operations, you’ll be sure to notice a difference.
When it comes to maintaining the equipment you have, make sure you carry out regular checks and have a fully-certified, qualified professional perform a thorough inspection, diagnosis and repair of any affected machines. Some of the basic things that will need checking when it comes heavy material handling equipment include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Engine oil
- Hydraulic and transmission oil levels
- Power steering fluid levels
- All vital fluid levels
- Lift chain
- Catalytic converter
- Looking for leaks and any damages or signs of wear
- Battery terminals
- Steering wheel maneuverability
Refurbished Forklifts are material handling experts, supplying customers throughout the UK with high-calibre warehouse equipment of exceptional quality and all refurbished to an excellent standard every single time. If you don’t have the budget to buy brand new machinery, then Refurbished Forklifts will have exactly what you’re looking for – durable, robust and reliable second-hand forklifts for a reasonable price. We’re also pleased to be able to provide reach trucks, order pickers, scissor lifts and more. For more information, get in touch with a member of our expert team today – we’re always happy to help.