Peak shipping season generally begins around the middle of August, with transportation and logistics needs remaining elevated through the rest of the holiday season.
The better you’re prepared to withstand the increase in demand, the better your company—and its employees—will survive the longer days and new logistical challenges. This begins with making a plan.
Planning for peak needs
If your company has been in business for any length of time, you likely have some idea of what to expect as peak ramps up. You can use past years as a benchmark for how your operations will be impacted, in addition to when certain actions will need to be taken to keep from falling behind. Even newer companies aren’t totally in the dark as industry trends can provide some insight into what lies ahead.
Think about fluctuations that can occur during peak, which resources need to be ramped up, and any additional expenses that will be incurred. Develop a plan that covers the financial, operational and staff-related needs during this busy time. Any aspect of the company that is likely to be stressed during peak should have its own plan.
Prepare for the unexpected
Unfortunately, even the best-made plans won’t keep you from facing unexpected issues along the way. Trucks break down, drivers call in sick, and shipments aren’t ready when they’re supposed to be, all of which can put a kink in the delivery chain. When creating your plan, put contingencies in place for events such as these.
One way to prepare for the unexpected is to hold a brainstorming session with your employees and come up with a list of all the obstacles you may potentially face in the months ahead. Then, talk about each and come up with a couple of ways to resolve that issue with the greatest speed and effectiveness. Hopefully, none of these events will happen. But if they do, you will be prepared.
Ramp up your workforce
A company’s workforce is one of its biggest assets, especially during peak season. These are the people who will put in more hours, work harder than ever, and do what they can to ensure that your goods get from point A to point B.
While some companies try to get through peak without bringing on any extra staff, taking this approach can often backfire. One, you risk burning your best employees out. This not only makes them less effective but may even cause them to start looking for work elsewhere.
Even if your current staff band together and do what they can to withstand the elevated demand, sometimes the demand is just too much. It’s like giving each one a cup and asking them to stand in front of a just-released dam to keep the water from rushing into a nearby town. It simply isn’t going to work.
Admittedly, the current labor market does present some challenges for transportation and logistics companies. Finding new drivers, and keeping them on the job, isn’t as easy as it has been in years past.
This sometimes requires getting a bit creative, such as by finding ways to get more people interested in driving a truck.
Use a driver staffing agency
Another way to make your workforce peak-ready is to utilize the services of a driver staffing agency. Taking this approach provides access to the workers you need without the stress of the hiring process.
When you work with Centerline, our dedicated recruiters will work to put the most qualified drivers in the right positions with your company. Between our staffing solutions and advanced driver recruitment technology, we can ramp up your workforce quickly and with greater ease.
Contact Centerline today to learn more about how we can help you be more prepared for peak demands. We fill approximately 4,500 truck-driving jobs annually. We are here to help you fill yours.
About the Author
Christina M. DeBusk creates small business content for a variety of publications, some of which include Businessing Magazine, Compendent, Chiropractic Economics, and more. She is also the author behind the column, "The Successful Solopreneur.
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