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We know what you’re thinking: “The holidays? Isn’t it July?”

And, well, you’re right! But we assure you, it’s never too early to start thinking about the holidays when you’re in the warehousing industry. No matter what goods you stock or what industries you serve, the last quarter of the year can be a big scramble for any warehouse if you’re not prepared.

Which is why we’re all going to start getting prepared now!


Five Ways To Get Your Warehouse Ready For The Holidays


Start hiring and training staff

No matter how well-staffed your warehouse may be (which can still be a tall order in these post-pandemic days), getting a head start on finding help for the holidays (temporary or otherwise) will save you a lot of time and hassle down the road.

This extra lead time with your holiday staff will give you a comfortable buffer with which to start training them on the essentials: what items are located where on your pallet racking, the best processes for unloading new goods, common shipment times and locations, and so on. The earlier you can start with training and working with your new hires, the smoother your daily operations will be during the holidays.


Update your floor plan as needed

The holiday season tends to bring with it a massive influx of new inventory. While that can be good news for your bottom line, it can start to make your warehouse feel a little…cramped.

Review your incoming stock levels and see what can go where, and what needs to be moved. Try to think strategically – more popular items (or anything you’re going to be stocking a lot of) should go near the front of the warehouse and stay on lower shelves for easier access. Install cantilever racks for more specialized items that might be more difficult to arrange elsewhere, and get ready to rearrange your shelves to accommodate the increase of overall inventory.


Plan your order deadlines as early as possible

A lot of issues with inventory during the holidays stem from the timeline needed for orders, both from other vendors and for your customers. As you start to plan out your inventory, set a hard-and-fast “holiday delivery” cutoff date, to ensure your orders can be processed in a timely fashion without overwhelming your staff or frustrating your customers. And don’t be afraid to set this date earlier in December to make sure that all orders can be processed on time!


Streamline your returns process

While a lot of your focus during this time of year will be on managing outgoing orders, you’re bound to get a lot more returns than usual as well. Having a well-defined returns process is a good call for any time of year, but particularly during the holiday season, mapping out your returns process (both for your customers and for your team) will make things a lot smoother.

Work with your team to review and redesign your returns process as needed. Focus on things like where the returns will be kept, how they’ll be restocked into inventory, and how fast your customers can get their refunds processed – not only will you be glad you planned it all out ahead of time, your customers will be grateful for the speedy response!


Perform maintenance as needed

Finally, it might be a good time to tend to all those maintenance requests you’ve been putting off. Check your racks and shelves for damage, make sure your loading bay doors are working properly, get the forklift rolling smoothly, and clean up any damage to the interior of your warehouse that could start to impact operations. And to make sure none of this happens again, train your staff to keep an eye out for potential damage right away.

With these steps in mind, your warehouse will be running more smoothly during the holidays than you might expect – and any chance you can have to destress during the final quarter is a good thing, right?

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