Christmas and Logistics: Why they are made for each other

Are you ready for Christmas? Have you finished your shopping? Have you picked up those last-minute Christmas dinner essentials? Did you even know that Christmas is days away?

These questions have a sharp undertone. The state of Christmas and logistics have never been more interconnected. Collaboration and visibility within the supply chain is an absolute necessity. Santa and Mrs. Claus both have COVID-19. And in Europe, new fears over the spread of a variant of COVID-19 have resulted in a holiday lockdown. It is a dramatic deviation from the norm. Regardless, it is up to the supply chain leaders to save Christmas and logistics through the right strategy. Why? Well, Christmas and logistics are made for each other. E-commerce shopping is at an all-time high. And it’s likely to continue growing well into the new year. Consider this.

As reported earlier this season by Oliver Freedman of Supply Chain Digital, “Unsurprisingly, with the change in consumer habits, we can also see a change in the buying trends, courtesy of COVID-19. The average consumer of 2020 will be looking towards practical purchases rather than luxury items this Christmas. Most notably, products like winter coats, snowshoes, and fire pits appear to be near the top of the Christmas list, as families and friends prepare for outdoor, socially-distant gatherings in the colder months under lockdown rules.”

Much like Thanksgiving, Christmas is not something a person can throw together overnight, despite what movies may suggest. Christmas and logistics combined to create those magical moments. But let’s face reality. There is nothing ordinary about this year. And with that in mind, I think it’s time to look a little deeper at how Christmas and logistics implies a need for more planning and collaboration.

Christmas and logistics always involve more planning.

Christmas and logistics initiatives often are at the center of peak season. That is the whole premise of peak season. An uptick in overall consumer orders, e-commerce activity, and fast shipping requirements go through the roof, and much like the demand for dressing during the Christmas family meal, there always seems to be more orders than available inventory. Out-of-stock items are going to happen; so how do we respond? Do you suggest another item, find other suppliers quickly, or proactively communicate using technology? Companies must proactively pivot and have the mechanisms, i.e. the right technology, to execute the pivot.

It’s Not Enough to Plan As Peak Season Approaches; I Need to Start Planning Earlier and Earlier

I started my holiday shopping before Halloween. I had all the gifts purchased before Thanksgiving. Guess what happened? I am still not finished. And the chances are good that I will go out and buy exactly what I ordered because it is on backorder or otherwise delayed. Yes, there are plenty of new disruptions putting pressure on the supply chain today, and I knew that my order might not arrive on time. However, here I go again, putting out fires, hoping that I will be finished on time. 

My experience is the same as every supply-chain leader. The best-laid strategies will inevitably falter at some point. The only way a supply chain leader can overcome those obstacles is to have an effective backup plan. The backup plan needs to include new methods for sourcing inventory, finding additional capacity, much like my need to find more room to store all of this wrapping paper, and more. Additionally, there’s the other issue. I do not want to go to the mall. But I know it could be necessary. Only by working together with the individual shopkeepers and store services can I get what I need, reduce my time in the store, get it home, get it wrapped, and hope that I do not accidentally leave something behind.

The implication for Christmas and logistics is simple. Planning is an ever-evolving process. Supply chain collaboration must endure well beyond peak season. The idea of a year-round peak season process. As the industry expects more, we must respond with more. 

Inventory and Logistics are Intertwined, Like Christmas and all those Sweets

Christmas and logistics are intertwined. And as Santa gears up for his annual track, I find myself trying to find time to make cookies, pies, and all these other sweets that I cannot eat. I am trying to watch my waist, trimming away the excess. And I cannot help but think of how trimming away the excess applies to Christmas and logistics. Do we need that much inventory for a product that rarely moves? Perhaps not, and it’s possible to figure out a better inventory strategy with advanced Turvo Analytics to measure the business’s full health. 

If I can avoid losses and calories by swapping sugar for Splenda, why can’t I do the same with inventory? However, it is a joyous time, and not to quote Charles Dickens, but we are in this together. Much like I’m trying to avoid using credit cards, paying with debit or cash when available, the idea of Christmas and logistics becomes more about faster payment processes and faster payment amounts to savings in the supply chain.

We Can Finally Be Ready for Christmas and Logistics with the Right Supply Chain Partner

“Christmas [and the new year are] practically here!” exclaimed the Grinch. But this is Whoville, and we will find a way to make it work regardless. Christmas and logistics continue to grow more related. I know that if I take a much-needed step back, assess the situation with an analytical mind, reach out to see what waste and excess areas I can cut, and stick to my track of continuous improvement, I can make the logistics of my Christmas successful. 

Christmas and logistics in your enterprise can be successful with the same strategy. Visit Turvo to learn more about how your organization can put collaborative logistics’ power to work for all the peaks that will follow.

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Samantha Foley serves as Turvo’s Chief Marketing Officer with oversight of the management of product marketing and brand positioning, digital marketing, lead generation and campaigns, events, communications, and press and analyst relations.

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