Typically, holiday shopping spikes right after Thanksgiving, kicking off the logistics industry’s peak season. But nothing is typical this year. Consumers have already started their seasonal shopping and are doing most of it online due to COVID-19. According to a Ware2Go Survey, 56% of merchants believe this year’s peak could exceed 2019 levels. Some companies may panic, worried about carrier capacity issues that could impact shipments and deliveries—but careful planning and forethought can ensure you have the capacity to properly manage the holiday season.
To help you prepare, EASE has put together several considerations and strategies you can implement now to reduce your risk of delayed or missed shipments.
What to Expect With Holiday Orders
- Higher Shipping Volumes as E-commerce Continues to Grow
For the past several years, e-commerce sales have been on the rise. With people currently unable to go to brick and mortar stores or purposefully choosing to avoid them, those sales have accelerated even further. According to Deloitte, 73% of shoppers plan to have items delivered from 62% in 2019). Additionally, the holiday shopping season is expected to last longer than in previous years. In the new year, online shopping will simultaneously be occurring with holiday returns.
- Decreasing Number of Truck Drivers and Truck Shortages
Even before the pandemic, there was a shortage of truck drivers. Now, carriers have to deal with truck drivers contracting the coronavirus, getting furloughed, or going into early retirement. Not only is the decreasing number of truck drivers a problem, but there has also been a reefer shortage, and dry vans are at capacity. Carriers that are flexible, accommodating, and dependable will stand out from the crowd during this season.
- Delays in Processing and Deliveries
The volume of people ordering goods online has led to delays in processing and deliveries across all industries. Globally, the pandemic put orders behind when shipments weren’t allowed to leave the country. Many companies have been dealing with holiday-like surges since the onset of the pandemic, so adding holiday gifts on top of the already existing demand means retailers need to plan ahead—and consumers may need to be patient.
- Dedicated Carriers Falling Off and High Spot Rates
Dedicated carriers may not be able to fulfill the demands of their customers, which can cause them to lose contracts. Shippers may turn to larger carriers to move their shipments since they typically have more capacity. However, spot rates may be much higher due to higher demand and lower capacity.
How to Prepare for Carrier Capacity Issues
- Embrace Technology
With so many deliveries happening daily, it’s imperative to know the location of each shipment at any given point in its journey and when it will arrive. Advanced tracking technology can help you stay on top of this, reassuring everyone from merchants to retailers and customers. The right technology can also help plan loads, schedule pickups, communicate with customers and balance demand.
- Expand Your Network
Smooth(er) sailing through this challenging season might require a more-hands-on-deck approach. Don’t be hesitant to reach out to an experienced 3PL who has a team of reliable, experienced carriers available at a moment’s notice with the capacity to assist. Access to these resources can save you time, money, as well as reduce the hassles of excessive paperwork. A 3PL can also help ease the burden of supply chain and warehousing by offering flexibility.
- Plan Ahead for Emergencies
Some solutions—like temperature controlled—require a great deal of sensitivity and expertise, even in business-as-usual times. This is why a reefer (nickname for refrigerated) shortage is not something to be ignored. It is important to have a partner with a proven history of success equipped to act quickly and efficiently, regardless of the severity of the circumstance. While we are still unsure of what to expect from the pandemic in the following year, one thing is certain—emergencies WILL continue to happen. Not having to scramble when they arise, knowing that you have a solid resource at your disposal is critical.
- Plan for the Future
With demand expecting to extend past the holidays, supply chain providers need to think about what strategies they will implement in 2021. One method could be using different conveyances, like Power Only and drop trailers. These options open up how quickly deliveries can be picked up and dropped off, saving you time and on-the-spot manpower.
Although this year is gearing up to be one of the most demanding holiday seasons ever, having a logistics provider you can rely on will make all the difference. At EASE Logistics, we provide all the services and more you need year-round and especially during the busiest of seasons. Our comprehensive solutions and services include:
- 3PL Dedicated Resource
- Dry Van & Temperature Controlled
- Expedited Shipping
- Power Only & Recovery
We provide accelerated, innovative services that deliver the products and goods of select clients utilizing a highly effective global network. We strive to be your one-call-away partner, especially when you are in a pinch.
Don’t forget to download our digital contact card as a quick and convenient reference when you need our services in a rush.