With the peak holiday season around the corner, be equipped to handle everything supply chain side, and expect the unexpected. This blog post covers some of the tips from our perspective as freight forwarders in the business.
When is the peak trading season?
The peak trading season refers to the October - January period at the end of each year, and is significant to retailers, importers and exporters of all kinds due to heightened demand. In Australia, importers are expected to have preparations under way as early as July/August, to ensure a smooth trading season.
Managing peak season is easy with sufficient planning ahead of time. Whether you are a B2C or B2B, the most crucial areas of planning are inventory, logistics, and customer service.
To ensure you have sufficient inventory for the peak trading season, consider looking at past years' performance around this time to forecast demand. Looking at seasonal trends, as well as competitor volumes can also help with more accurate forecasting.
Logistics is part of the planning equation as many parties in the supply chain will begin to have limited availability for the increased demand in peak season trading. Plan your orders ahead of time to secure space with shipping lines and airlines. Allow for an extended timeline when ordering last minute shipments. Your local post system may also be slowed down significantly, so having clear expectations for timelines can save a lot of headaches and stress.
Ultimately, you want to maintain your level of service whilst expanding your capabilites to handle increased demand. During this time, it might be beneficial to look into 3PL fulfillment for peak season trading, so you can free up time to work on the business and customers. Have automated systems in place, such as clear guidelines for shipping times for customers during the peak trading period, or holiday cut off dates for Christmas presents, will help save a lot of customer service hours. Ensuring that your staff knows all of your out-of-norm peak trading season policies, such as an extended return policy, so they are able to answer any questions your customers may have.
Tips for smooth freight management
Although each business is different, as freight forwarders for over 30 years we have encountered it all. Here are some tips for you as business owners, to help prepare you for a smooth peak season trading.
- Expectation is everything. Speak to your freight forwarder or logistics provider about their peak season trading policies. That way, when there are abnormalities out of this expectation, you know where or who you'll need to contact to manage them.
- Expect the unexpected. Peak season trading is different each year to each business. Foresee the complications that can go wrong in your business, have a plan to prevent and rectify these complications should they arise during the busy period.
- Space and time. Shipping lines and airlines have limited capacities during the peak trading season. It is absolutely crucial to book your containers and ULDs ahead of time, sometimes weeks or months ahead out of the peak Christmas season to ensure you are getting your cargo on time. Plan for extra time for your shipments during this period as there could be complications that happen during transit.
- Insurance is non-negotiable. You wouldn't want to lose out on the potential sales and potential loss of inventory, should anything happen during transit. Insurance is absolutely important when booking your cargo during the peak season.
Whale Logistics are Australia’s Award Winning Freight Forwarder and Logistics company located in Sydney and Melbourne. We deliver digital services such as Australian 3PL & warehousing solutions, and comprehensive import/export ocean, air and road freight solutions.
If you are an importer/exporter with frequent trading in and out of Australia, you may be eligible for a free consultation with one of our Customer Success Managers. Just let us know your requirements through our contact form and we will be in touch.