As we enter the fourth quarter of 2021 and prepare for peak shipping season, it’s very clear that we’re experiencing an unprecedented peak season. This is on top of a year that we’ve never seen in shipping before. While it may be clear that you can expect limited capacity, higher rates, and delays, we want to also make it clear that you don’t have to suffer the hardest effects of a challenging peak season.
You cannot necessarily strategize this year the same way as before, and this year, planning smartly and quickly is going to be your best friend. To help you get out in front of it, we’re sharing our five tips for surviving the challenge of a unique peak season.
1 – Plan Early & Move Quickly
This first step is the most crucial component of a successful shipping strategy, and you can never plan too early. This year is more complicated, so processes will need to be adjusted so you’re setting yourself to hit realistic goals. Once you have your plan in place, be prepared to move on it quickly. This is not the year to second-guess or make adjustments until the last minute.
2 – Be Open to Change
Being adaptable is going to be your most powerful asset this shipping season. And your ability to implement it strategically is the key to how you’ll set your operations up for success this year. Consider other modes of transportation and methods of shipping that you haven’t used before. And if your shipment isn’t time sensitive, the difference between a 15-day delivery time and a 20-day delivery time may be quite significant.
3 – Look for Deals
When you plan early and move quickly, you can capitalize on any deals that arise, and even with a packed season, there will be deals. For instance, LTL carriers may pass along price breaks to customers who are able to give them some much-needed flexibility in arranging their loads and delivery times at this time of year.
4 – Stagger Shipments
If you’re working with large shipments and everything doesn’t have to get there at once, it may make sense to pay for a small portion of your total shipment to arrive faster and let the rest of the bulk arrive later with a slower and cheaper method of delivery.
5 – Play with Timing
Aside from allowing for extra time during peak season for the usual hiccups – carriers overbooking, weather delays, closures, etc. – you may also want to consider if you can avoid shipping during peak season altogether. If you ship early and ship later, as in after the first of the new year, in larger volumes, you may be able to sit out the headaches that peak season can often cause.
This year, it’s more important than ever that your supply chain be nimble and flexible. After all your planning and strategizing, just remember to pack your shipments well so that they get to their destination in one piece and then enjoy each successful delivery.