The Holiday Shipping Period
December is a complicated and busy time for shipping and delivery. The hard deadline of December 25th causes customers to be somewhat inflexible on their deadlines, and more likely to pressure you to deliver products early. This is compounded by the fact that the number of orders increases fairly dramatically over the holiday season. Due to these factors there is an expectation that January will be a relatively relaxed period for shipping. There are a few challenges one must consider before making this assumption.
Challenge 1: Human Error
Presumably, you were largely successful at navigating the holiday season. You clearly communicated deadlines to your customers, avoided delays whenever possible, and managed unavoidable delays as well as possible. Unfortunately, January will be spent contending with customers or clients who expect you to have overcome not only your own challenges, but theirs as well. It is very likely that a customer who placed an order on December 23rd is frustrated as to why their loved one didn’t receive their package before the new year. A client will understand that your entire industry is experiencing delays, but will struggle to understand why that should impact their order specifically. You will field complaints like “Is it really that hard to ship one box?” from a client who refuses to understand that no shipping company moves one box at a time. January is the time of year to prepare yourself for an onslaught of customer complaints, regardless of your success or failure of handling the holiday rush.
Challenge 2: Winter Weather
January may mark the end of the holiday season, but it marks the beginning of the winter season. The official first day of inter may be in December, but the first full month of winter is January. You are going to have to deal with more ice and snow. Winter cold fronts and storms can create dangerous road conditions, particularly for any interstate shipping. There is no more dangerous time to be in the shipping industry than wintertime. Now is the time to review company safety policies. Update your drivers on any changes to policy and safety practices. And even though you will be dealing with an influx of customer complaints, be sure to place driver safety first. A lost customer due to a delay is preferable to a lost driver due to a rush.
Challenge 3: Post Holiday-Slump
This issue is both practical, and emotional. Over the holiday season, you likely received as many shipping orders as you could keep up with. Now that the holidays are over, you are going to receive far fewer orders. This can be an issue for some businesses, because often business expenses rise to match incomes. While there are certainly financial strategies and accounting advice you can use to mitigate that issue, most of that advice is preventative. You will likely have to start cutting expenses in January. Emotionally, the holidays are a fun time. Every member from the CEO to the newest driver is going to be slightly blue when the excitement is over and they have to return to their regular routine. December may be the season of physical generosity and charity, but January needs to be the season of emotional generosity and charity. It’s good morally, and it also is good for productivity.
The New Year comes with new challenges. It also is awash with new opportunities. Perhaps the biggest challenge the post-holiday season has to offer, is the challenge to seize the opportunity this new year brings. Learn how our experts can help with your fulfillment and shipping needs. Contact us, today!