Getting in Shape for Peak — Plus the 10 Months After That
August 17, 2023
There’s a lot of debate about whether we’re heading for a recession by the end of this year, early next year, or maybe not at all. But there’s no question resources are tighter than ever in the distribution and fulfillment (D&F) industry. Among the aftershocks of the lockdown era, one of the tightest labor markets in history and a supply chain that’s still struggling to recover, it seems like there’s less of everything to go around. And with the peak season less than two months away, there’s a widespread vibe that a perfect storm is brewing.
A lot of older equipment will be pushed to its limits (and beyond) this year. The last things any D&F operation needs are unplanned downtime, delays for critical parts and/or staff shortages. That’s why it’s critically important to make the most of what you have and start planning how right away — even if you’re on a tight budget.
We’re All Under Pressure to Do More With Less
The peak season often gives the D&F industry a kick in the seat of the pants to polish up equipment and boost efficiency. Although I agree it’s the most important time of the year to make sure you’re running at optimal performance, there’s a bigger picture to consider and larger goals within your reach, even if you’re on a tight budget.
After many years of helping operations find ways to manage limited resources, I’ve learned that a more effective strategy is to build up momentum for peak and keep it going the other 10 months of the year. I regularly see smart optimization plans pay for themselves quickly, often many times over. What’s more, many operations managers are telling us they’ve been running at peak levels practically nonstop since 2020. At that pace, limiting optimization to the fourth quarter is quickly becoming an unrealistic strategy.
Even in today’s volatile economy, leading D&F companies with clear optimization paths are achieving top scores in every key performance indicator (KPI) you’re likely to care about, including throughput, efficiency, equipment reliability, talent retention, and of course, uptime. Sure, they’re front-loading preventative maintenance (PM) before peak, but they’re also using simple and cost-effective strategies to stay lean, efficient and competitive year-round. Often, that kind of success is built at a comfortable pace, one or two steps at a time.
Join Us for an Informative Webinar on Optimizing Your Operation
On Thursday, September 7 at 1 p.m. EDT, we’ll present a free 30-minute On The Move webinar that will reveal how leading operations are optimizing for success. We’ll cover strategies to help you assess the current state of your operation, set realistic goals, fill gaps in your capabilities, and overcome other hurdles that may be holding you back.
Register today to learn steps you can take to achieve goals on your own, plus danger signs that may signal a need for outside support.