Posted by Thelma Marshall, VP of Solutions, September 22, 2020.

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How a business manages 4th quarter demands can make or break its reputation. For many enterprises, the last quarter of the year is when they do up to 50% of their business so planning for increases, supply delays and challenges is crucial.

The pressure to do more in less time and for less money is about to be switched into high gear. Customers expect their orders to arrive quickly, safely and at a low cost. Expectations have set the bar higher than ever before and it takes well-orchestrated planning and insightful data to keep up.

But there are simple solutions to manage the increasing chaos of 4th quarter in your facility, helping to meet goals and improve brand reputation. Start with what the best supply chain organizations do and are often recognized for.

Boost opinion and reputation

What your customers think about you matters to your success. If orders are delayed getting out the door, due to lack of inventory or an accident on the warehouse floor, it costs you more than the obvious manpower or repairs. It costs in customer satisfaction and future business.

Meet the challenge:
  1. Analyze inventory

You can’t fill orders quickly if you are waiting for inventory. Anticipating demand is not an exact science, but history and current sales will assist in this forecast. Review previous years’ sales reports and the latest order flow projections from your sales and marketing team.  

  1. Organize storage and inventory.

Telematics’ advanced location that leverages geofencing, which determines the best options for repositioning pedestrian walkways and stop zones, as well as where to restrict larger forklifts in areas where inventory placement may hinder maneuverability.  This reduces costly accidents and delays in product movement.

Maintain equipment and your team

All equipment needs to be ready to meet demands. Never assume that maintenance or needed repairs have been completed.  

Meet the challenge:
  1. Monitor maintenance.

Check on the maintenance activity of all lift equipment, power conveyors, backup power supplies, scanners, order printers, and company vehicles. Telematic maintenance report cards show if regular maintenance is completed and repairs are scheduled. 

  1. Right size your fleet.

Look at telematic operator and forklift-utilization reports to determine if operators and forklifts are being utilized to full capacity. This valuable data factors in total activity, travel with load times, and how many pallets are moved per hour. 

  1. Train workers well and reward excellence.

Use your telematic monitoring system to track operator performance and productivity through their operator report cards. Plan for training in areas of weakness and also recognize and reward their strengths. 

  1. Set clear team goals and communicate why they matter.

If workers know why something needs to change or improve they develop a vested interest to the results.

Whether you will be managing increased inventory to fulfill large holiday orders or shipping out as much as possible to lower year-end inventory levels, creating a strategic plan will be key to managing the chaos. Demands on your facility may accelerate during 4th quarter, but telematic monitoring and insight can help you prepare.

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