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How to Expedite the Supply Chain for Black Friday

Remember the fervor in the 1980s over Cabbage Patch Kids, Transformers, and Teddy Ruxpin dolls? What about when the 90s brought us Tickle Me Elmo, Beanie Babies, and Furbies?

How to Expedite the Supply Chain for Black Friday.

These all became hot retail commodities during the holiday season, meaning customers were lined up on Black Friday, searching for the holy grail.

Why was there not enough supply to live up to the hype? It all comes down to logistics. Months of preparation goes into planning for year-end holiday sales, and it’s difficult to predict what will be the hottest ticket items each year. For 2018, it will probably be a gaming console or something electronic, but just two years ago, Hatchimals, simple eggs that “hatch” stuffed animals, were the toy of the year and sold out a month before Christmas. The unpredictability is what makes the holiday season so difficult for supply chain professionals. Even the best forecasts don’t always live up to the hype of the season, meaning expedited processes become necessary.

Planning & Predicting Volumes

Logistics planning is complex on a good day, but for Black Friday and similar events, companies need more manpower as well as backup plans for any delays or issues that arise in any part of the supply chain. Increased volumes mean that any bottlenecks can cause a major disruption in getting products onto shelves. Supply chain managers must arrange for alternative processes and create plans to offset the extra strain on their resources.

Even with extra time put into analyzing data to predict the amount of product needed for the season, numbers can still be wildly inaccurate. No one could have predicted that millions of Furbies would be sold, and logistics professionals in 1998 had to scramble to get as many out to stores as possible before Christmas day.

Post-holiday Returns

After the rush of gift-buying, many products are returned. The high volume of product that comes back from December 26th through January creates extra processing and reverse logistics that are both time-consuming and complex.

All these factors add up to a crazy time in the supply chain, but when the processes all work together successfully, companies see profits soar and consumers experience a happy holiday season. If you need some assistance with expediting your year-end logistics, DSV is able to build creative solutions to meet your company’s needs. Contact us today to get started.

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