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5 best practices for dealing with seasonal / promotional items

Supply Chain Operations & Finance

With the holiday season upon us, most distribution operations around the world are entering into the busiest – and most demanding – time of the year. However, seasonal / promotional items – regardless of the time of year – present unique fulfillment challenges that can negatively affect capacity, labor productivity, zone organization and, ultimately, drive costs up.

Here are five best practices to keep your fulfillment operation meeting its goals this December and through all the seasons of the year

1. Design a seasonal / promotional area in your facility.

Flex staging space or unused racking can be used to house seasonal items so that they can be picked together, separate from regular-turn. Proper
quantification of the benefits should be done prior to implementation and requirement should be determined carefully to avoid creating bottlenecks in the operation.

2. Proactively assign seasonal items to their optimal location.

Proactively assigning seasonal and promotional items to their optimal zone and material handling system before they even arrive on your dock allows you to not only proactively prepare optimal slot types but also to plan capacity requirements ahead of time.

3. Dynamically re-assign items for which volume fluctuates seasonally.

Use proper slotting maintenance tools to dynamically move and re-assign not only seasonal in-and-out items but also items that have seasonal volumes throughout the year. Dynamically slotting these items ensures put-away and order selection efficiency, among many other benefits.

4. Employ a method of differentiating seasonal / promotional items.

The ability to differentiate seasonal / promotional in & out items from seasonal regular-turn items is critical to maintaining consistent operational efficiency. Whether it’s the utilization of automation or just a conventional velocity-based storage methodology, the labor productivity implications of handling temporary items is worth a specialized approach.

5. Anticipate how seasonal shifts affect efficiency and labor staffing

Having a method of proactively planning crewing requirements and dynamically tracking budget adherence and direct labor efficiency will help you avoid understaffing, overstaffing, and, ultimately, missing shift budget targets.

Find out how a fulfillment optimization system can help you manage seasonal and promotional items in your operation.

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