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Shipping & Logistics Managers: How to Prepare for Increased Holiday Volume

There are many things to love about the holiday season - and for most, being with friends and family is at the top of the list. But, for those in shipping or logistics, the holidays are no time to relax. Instead of good tidings, workers face long hours, big quotas, and lots of considerations that need to be made to pull off a successful Q4. Keep reading to learn how to prepare.

Consumer Demand is Up in 2017

Holiday buying and shipping is always hectic, and experts predict that this year will be crazier than usual, as consumers are predicted to spend 18-20% more on gifts. As a result, the U.S. Postal Service is expecting to handle over 850 million packages this holiday season. Before all those packages make it to doorsteps - they start with logistics, retail, and shipping companies, who also have to be prepared for an influx in volume.

Of course, all of this extra prep work is not for nothing. It means more sales and higher profits for shippers and retailers alike, but only if businesses are prepared to take advantage of the opportunity.

As you prepare, consider the following:

  • Hire an adequate number of temporary staff:
    While it may seem like an unnecessary expense, increasing your payroll by hiring seasonal staff is essential. This year, UPS plans to hire 95,000 temporary employees to handle packages and makes deliveries, while FedEx expects to hire around 50,000 more workers. Retail stores across the country will also be bringing in additional help to lend a hand throughout the holidays.
  • Hire staff early and provide proper training:
    More hands to help with the additional work are great, but only if they belong to well-taught employees. Make sure you hire seasonal workers early enough to allow them to fully learn their roles. The small additional expense for training is well worth the investment to keep things running smoothly.
  • Inspect and service your vehicles:
    This one is specific to shippers.There's nothing more frustrating than having to turn down a large shipment because you have a broken-down truck. To avoid that issue, now is the time to make sure all your trucks are operational and ready to roll.
  • Check in with shipping and logistics partners:
    Before things get chaotic, take the initiative to make sure your hired help is prepared. Check in with logistics, shipping, and retail partners, share what type of volume you're expecting, proactively discuss potential issues, and come up with solutions that work for everyone.

With proper planning and a bit of luck, your shipping, logistics, or retail business will enjoy a happy and prosperous holiday season.

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