With the 2015 holiday season quickly approaching, please remember that deliveries could be delayed due to holidays in the originating, transshipment or destination countries. It is best practice to prepare for holiday-related delays by padding your supply chain transit tables. Aside from the holiday presents, the season also brings a myriad of shipping obstacles including winter weather, continuation of driver shortages in the U.S., equipment shortages and port congestion.
Last year’s brutal winter weather created numerous shipping challenges and delays. Additionally, labor strikes and slowdowns, port congestion and port closings added to the supply chain delays. All of these factors contributed to increased transportation costs for shippers across the country. Labor has returned to normal, however, shippers should still plan for winter weather, port congestion and port closings.
Oftentimes, there can be situations which arise during the holidays, causing difficulties for final delivery. However, below is a list of tips to help you minimize the impact of the holidays:
- Plan staffing in advance and have a contingency plan. Many companies are negatively impacted due to PTO or sick time during the holidays. Planning ahead can help minimize the effect on daily business operations due to personnel issues.
- Monitor safety stock levels just in case supply chain delays or port congestion transpires.
- Communicate early with end customers should any delays occur.
- Be extremely clear with all supply chain interests regarding order deadlines.
- Realize that any delays will affect the “estimated” time of delivery.
- Plan ahead and factor in additional transit time for key shipments.
- Know that cut off dates and times for fixed weekly sailings can be changed on short notice.
- Recognize that there could be space and equipment shortages during the holidays.
- Acknowledge that high volumes will likely result in increased rates as space becomes a premium.
In an effort to effectively and efficiently manage your logistics program this holiday season, plan ahead and communicate your needs with all supply chain partners.