Coping with Christmas: Thank you Logistics Professionals!

Danielle Williams, December 14, 2018

Christmas is coming…

Christmas is fast approaching, and the general population are getting ready to sit back with a mince pie in hand, to order their festive shopping online, but do we ever stop to think about the logistics involved in ensuring that our parcel arrives on time for Christmas?

Logistics companies start planning months in advance of the big day; this involves hiring additional warehouse staff, longer working hours, early promotions, superfluous warehouse space and extra delivery vehicles driving more routes.

Staffing

Working alongside a busy permanent workforce, extra temporary staff are also brought in to help with the busy period. This results in additional provision for on-the-job training to bring new colleagues up to speed ready for the mad Christmas rush.

According to retail studies, Amazon has hired an additional 100,000 seasonal staff and the Royal Mail an extra 20,000. The sheer scale of these operations is reminiscent of Santa’s workshop, where high volumes of goods are wrapped and packed for delivery by countless elves each year.

Vehicles

Looking at non-North Pole methods; companies looking to renew their vehicle fleet will overlap the take-on of new vehicles with the disposal of old ones during peak operations. This allows for increased vehicle availability to cope with extra deliveries over the short but busy Christmas period.

Studies predict that this year, logistics vehicles will be carrying over 320.9 million parcels over more than 16 million miles to reach recipients over the Christmas period. Perhaps some couriers will be hoping for a little Christmas magic to help them get through the rush....

Promotions

With all this forward-planning in mind, retail companies are trying to get ahead of the game by running early promotions to encourage shoppers to make their purchases well in advance, preventing the inevitable buying-panic which sets in as the advent calendar doors open.

Warehousing

During the Christmas period, an average Amazon warehouse picker walks 14 miles per day and Santa’s reindeer fly more than 40,075kms around the Earth’s circumference at the equator. It seems that both Reindeer and Amazon employees are travelling large distances to cover the festive-workload!

Warehouses often have compression tests prior to peak seasons. This is a process where a retailer will place an artificial hold on many orders and then flood the system with volume, thereby placing the operation under peak season volume conditions. This is an excellent opportunity to learn and improve before Christmas arrives.

Along with warehouses reaching maximum capacity, companies also need to consider returnable packaging and making sure they have enough units in reserve to cope with the peak.

Christmas 2018

Last year, as many as 90% of UK consumers switched to purchasing gifts online and this year the number is expected to rise again. If you think it is stressful buying your gifts for Christmas, just imagine how stressful it is behind the scenes in logistics!

Thank you Logistics Professionals!

Whilst you are gorging on your turkey and festive chocolates, spare a thought for the logistics professionals who are working their hardest to bring Christmas to your home. Thank you logistics workers – Christmas wouldn’t be the same without you! Happy Holidays! 

Written by Danielle Williams - Senior Recruitment Consultant - - Global Moving & Shipping Services at Alchemy Recruitment Ltd.

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