Peak season in logistics refers to the increased freight volume associated with back-to-school purchases and stocking up inventory for the upcoming holiday season. It is prime time for retail, resulting in increased demand across many markets. Retailers clearing their summer inventories also contribute to the craze.
Typically starting mid-August and continuing through the end of the year, peak season also brings the holiday cheer of high rates and tight capacity. Forecasts for 2022 support that peak season will be another year of high demand for consumer products, with US retail holiday sales predicted to rise 3.3% to $1.262 trillion.
Planning ahead and following some of these best practices for peak season prep will ensure that your company is ready to take on the end of the year:
- Prioritize Communication
- Encourage Greater Lead Time
- Leverage Data & Analytics
- Ensure Shipper Visibility
Communication is always important in supply chain and freight forwarding management. However, it is particularly critical during busy periods like peak season.
Before the hecticness of the season, accurately evaluate expected seasonal delays and encourage communication from your shippers to clearly define their freight needs. This will allow you to lock in capacity and properly schedule freight pick-ups and deliveries based on their predicted needs. Use historic data to communicate predicted changes in shipment times, port delays, and any other exceptions that will be impacted by peak season. This gives your customers the opportunity to realistically schedule and supports the claim that your team has your customer’s goals top of mind.
Make sure your team is prepared to prioritize seasonal needs for better communication by looking at ways to add automation to this process. When peak season hits, the rise in freight volume will also result in added volume of “Where is my shipment?” requests. Automatic milestone updates to shippers and their own access to live vessel tracking can give more time back to your team to focus on high priority tasks. Logixboard offers freight forwarders a dashboard to give their customers hands-on access to shipment visibility and to directly message with them, all in one place.
Leverage Data and Analytics
Even though predictive analytics is not a guarantee of how your season will go, it can help your team be more prepared for what could be impacting their shipments.
By focusing on key metrics, you can make strategic decisions that can be a differentiating factor in your value to your customers. Analyzing data can inform your team on how to suggest better routes, better carriers, more realistic timelines, the most efficient mode of transport, and more.
Utilize digital analytics solutions that let you look at historical shipment data, current visibility data, create different views based on KPIs, and even share that access to your customers. Not only will this drive strategic decisions, but it drive it without making your team manually compile data.
Ensure Shipper Visibility
Shippers and BCOs that have had the most success during COVID-19 have all prioritized visibility and control of their supply chains. As more shippers catch on to the importance of visibility, it has become an expected standard from forwarders.
These same principles for success become even more important for shippers when evaluating who will be handling their increase in shipment volume during peak season. How can you provide the best visibility and resulting control to your customers?
Giving customers self-serve access to an easy-to-use online visibility solution will ensure peak season is managed gracefully by all parties involved. True visibility comes from the knowledge that you have 24/7 access to the correct information needed to make decisions in your supply chain.
To help traditional freight forwarders and brokers be able to offer superior visibility to their customers, Logixboard has created a customer dashboard to remove some peak season weight off their shoulders.
- Online dashboard of all shipments: Give your customers access to invoicing, analytics, visibility, and more in a modern, user-friendly interface that integrates quickly and seamlessly with your current logistics software.
- Live tracking: Give your customers real-time shipment tracking on all their active shipments.
- Extended visibility for containers: Logixboard’s Automated Container Tracking (ACT) feature provides critical container tracking data from US and Canadian ports – including visibility of Customs statuses and PGA holds/exams.
Whether your team is preparing for peak season, managing the middle of the season, or wrapping up the year, it’s never too late to get a head start on the preparation for next year. Help your customers succeed all year long and prove that your company is an invaluable partner for shippers to have.