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nGROUP Performance Blog

Two Last Minute Questions for Distribution Holiday Peak Season

Posted by Ryan Cates on Aug 5, 2019 10:39:13 AM

Holiday peak season is nearly upon us in the distribution world. Your multi-channel operations are most likely receiving holiday product as you read this. Hopefully, you’ve got a plan, but here are a few last-minute questions to ask yourself:

What’s new?

As Donald Rumsfeld said, “We have known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns.” The “known knowns” have been identified and worked into the plan. The “unknown unknowns” simply can’t be known, so the best you can do is have some margin that allows for the unknown. The “known unknowns” are where you can focus some energy.


Donald Rumsfeld

Typically, these come in the form of new stuff; new vendors, new products, new software, new managers, etc. What they are supposed to do is known, but what they will actually do is not. So it is worth thinking about what falls into this category, and what happens if it doesn’t perform as expected.

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Is Your Team Emotionally Prepared?

Chances are there are some new people in your organization that haven’t been through a peak as a part of your team, or in their particular position. Maybe you’re one of them. Long hours and high stress are a given, but what does that mean in your world? Make sure everyone knows what’s expected explicitly of them when things get rough. Tell the family not to expect to see them for weeks? Time to break out your floor management skills? Hop on a lift or start scanning boxes? How-ever your organization functions, people will work together much better if they are not blindsided. Whatever happens, it’s always good to remind people that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

If you read this and felt concerned, we’d be happy to spend some time with you and your team to talk through your plans and help you come up with strategies to increase your chances of success in peak.

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Topics: Labor Management, Workforce Management, Warehouse Management, Distribution Labor, Peak Season