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Summer is slowly coming to a close, and the holiday season will be here before we know it. This year has been different for many reasons, but the preparation phase when it comes to your holiday shipping plan shouldn’t be different. With the crazy growth in eCommerce and all the changes that that involves, it has only emphasized the need and importance of supply chain preparing, planning and strategizing. And now is the perfect time to start. Here’s how to prepare your holiday order fulfillment now.

Manage Inventory and Shipping Supplies

Your supplier may have been impacted by COVID-19 regulations and getting a healthy line of inventory may be a challenge. This makes it all the more reason to stock up on product inventory now. The holidays are not the time to let your customers know they won’t be able to receive their orders until after the holidays are over, so the “better safe than sorry” strategy is a smart strategy to have.

And with surplus inventory means there’s a need for a surplus of shipping supplies. External supplies like boxes, crates, and pallets, along with internal packaging supplies like packing peanuts and bubble wrap should be on hand in plentiful supply. You can read more about freight packaging best practices and materials in our Guide to Freight Packaging.

Engage in Reverse Logistics

A seamless return policy is a huge part and plays a key role in the supply chain when it comes to customer satisfaction. It’s even more important for the post-holiday phase when returns and exchanges are very common. This is known as reverse logistics, or the back-end channels of your supply chain. Instead of products going from manufacturer or seller to customer, it’s the other way around.

Have a clear and transparent return policy and make it efficient and easy for customers to return products if they need to. Having a solid repair process where either you or your customer can send a product to be fixed and reused saves you money salvaging resources and helps correct a negative customer experience. Providing customers with return labels is also a common practice. Make sure your reverse logistics strategy is just as efficient and smart as your main supply chain plan.

Prepare for Disruptions

Mother Nature is unpredictable, and the winter means snowstorms and icy conditions that could impact transit times. There are many ways weather affects your freight shipment, so make sure you have the means and resources to maneuver around the unexpected. Tracking your shipment or preparing ahead of time for potential obstacles that could arise on a certain shipment’s transit route can assist you in planning and also letting your customers know what’s going on with their shipment if a delay occurs.

Partner with a 3PL

Nobody knows the freight shipping industry more than third-party logistics companies (3PLs) like FreightCenter, especially when it comes to holiday shipping.

Start preparing your holiday shipping strategy today! Don’t have a strategy? Don’t know where to start? We can help. Or if you need hands-on access to instant shipping rates – we’ve got that too! Experience the FreightCenter difference by getting a free online quote or call us at 844-212-7447.

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