The logistics industry peak period that is Q4 is a headache for many a logistics manager involved in retail, ecommerce and parcels.
Black Friday at the end of November is the largest retail sales day of the year. In 2014, £810 million was spent in the UK alone. John Lewis celebrated its biggest sales week of all time, ASDA sold over 8000 TVs before breakfast, while GAME was selling PS4s and Xbox One consoles at a rate of 3600 per hour.
As you can imagine, this presents some logistical challenges; be it extra vehicles, more warehouse space or more manpower. Royal Mail finds itself delivering upwards of 10 million parcels per day in December and took on an extra 19000 staff in 2014. Black Friday predominantly affects retail outlets; electronics being the most effected.
While the retail and parcel sectors enjoy a relatively easy time in the early months of the year, companies are already planning for Q4 during Q1. The recruitment of planners and analysts is high in the first half of the year, with logistics firms keen to have their peak plans and top staff ready for the peak period. The summer months are spent refining structures and bedding in managers so they are up to full speed by the time they are needed. September and October are desperate times with companies looking to get the remaining available shift managers, FLMs, planners and support management staff in before they go elsewhere.
Using interims during the peak period
In the lead up to Black Friday, things are on a knife edge. Most large operations are running a 24/7 shift pattern, they are fully staffed having planned for it all year, filling and recruiting throughout the summer and autumn. In the warehouse, the racking is stacked full, every loading bay has a vehicle waiting to be serviced and the operation is, hopefully, running at full capacity with no issues and all of the planning has worked out well.
But, what if the automation in the warehouse breaks, the warehouse manager is ill (it happens a lot at this time of the year), or the transport manager can’t handle the pressure anymore? Companies are left with no room to manoeuvre, no time to overrun into, and no answers for the clients who are delivering presents for Christmas, or big ticket items after Black Friday.
This is where interims are crucial. Whether it’s cover for your ‘O’ license holder who is off with the flu, an extra shift manager to manage those temporary operatives you took on or a systems specialist who can fix the issues in the inventory system that are causing a backlog, interims can save logistics companies from disaster during peak.
If you would like to discuss interim options for the peak period, please contact Kit Brook, manager at Michael Page Logistics. With references provided, an easy to use online portal for timesheets, 24 hour rolling contracts and all candidates AWR compliant from day one, Michael Page Logistics can help you prevent those peak time nightmares.
T: +44 115 934 8681