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10 tips for coping with peak periods of supply chain demand

The ability to scale up capacity to meet demand is one of the most challenging things to master within supply chain management. It can be almost impossible when a peak period seemingly comes out of the blue.

But these tips from logistics specialists DHL Supply Chain could help you put better preparations in place:

  1. Create a plan well in advance of known peak periods

For those busy seasonal periods you can predict, it’s essential to have a clear and detailed plan ready to put into action. It’s just as critical to ensure you communicate this clearly to the whole organisation, so that no one’s left out of the loop.

  1. Carry out stress testing

It’s no use waiting until demand has peaked to discover that you have gaps in labour and capacity. It’s far better to be proactive, and stress test your supply chain to identify any weaknesses.

  1. Make use of technology

Where your testing does identify areas in need of improvement, technology could have the solution. It’s well worth exploring whether automation, robot-assisted technology and AI could be deployed to fill gaps in capacity – especially at short notice.

  1. Appoint a dedicated team

Planning for spikes for demand is critical, so it could be worth creating a new dedicated team to take charge of this. Your team should be multi-functional, including expertise from IT, HR, operations and other key departments.

  1. Make your workplace a great place to work

To keep on top of demand, you’ll need to be on top of recruitment and retention. To make sure your workers stick around and that new hires want to join you, put some effort into improving your workplace. Focus on safety, comfort and the use of technology to make manual jobs easier.

  1. Consider using machine learning models to predict future patterns

In-depth analysis can help you to predict future demand patterns more accurately, and stop you from getting caught out by unexpected events.

  1. Build flexibility into your operating model

With every part of your operational model, you need to be thinking about how the system can flex to cope with an uplift in demand. Blending together a mix of automation, robotics and skilled staff can help you cope even during labour shortages.

  1. Set benchmarks for success, and learn from past failings

Again, analysis is key to preparing for spikes in supply chain demand. Leverage your data to learn from past successes and failures, and establish clear benchmarks to help you achieve future goals.

  1. Streamline your processes to boost efficiency

Efficient supply chain processes are better equipped to handle demand increases. You need to strip out obsolete, overly complex or poorly functioning processes, and focus on what works well.

  1. Consider working with a third-party logistics provider

There’s no shame in bringing in specialist expertise from outside the organisation to help you improve performance during peak periods.

Looking to hire in supply chain? Work with Quest Employment and we’ll ensure you have the skills and people you need to meet any peak period challenges. Get in touch to find out more.

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