Retailers had high hopes for this year’s peak season, but decreased demand, overstocked volume, and ongoing supply chain disruptions have put a dent in well-laid plans. These market factors make it challenging to meet their projections from earlier this year.
But with some adjustment, logistics managers can pivot successfully with heightened visibility, expanded carrier networks, and data-informed modifications to inventory management into the new year.
An uncertain peak season
Before this year’s peak season, many suppliers and retailers hoped for increased demand, higher inventory levels, and market trends resembling a pre-pandemic global economy. However, with inflation rising and fuel prices increasing, demand and freight rates are decreasing.
Also, rail volumes have fallen in the past two months. Freight carriers have reduced capacity across the board, causing increased spot rates and delayed deliveries that negatively affect the peak season customer experience. Logistics teams must react quickly with updated demand planning and inventory management strategies.
Adjusting to yet another unprecedented peak season is challenging. Capacity is determined partly from data in the years since the pandemic. However, that doesn’t account for inflation, the war in Ukraine, and other unique variables impacting supply chains in 2022. Market trends were improving only months ago, but supply chain planners are now preparing for a winter marked by an economic downturn.
Different carrier responses
As supply chain planners adjust shipping strategies, they must work around carriers’ peak season operations. some carriers anticipate delays, while others are accommodating the highs and lows of peak season—their new normal due to ongoing e-commerce trends.
Demand numbers that once marked a Black Friday boom now might happen on any day in spring, but DHL is continuing to hire 12,000 seasonal workers. FedEx Ground, on the other hand, is adjusting its forecast for lower volumes. Logistics team leads should plan for increased transit times and unreliable carrier rates.
Retailers can keep these tips in mind to bolster resilience during an uncertain peak season.
Expand and diversify carrier networks
Developing solid relationships with a diverse pool of carriers is essential to shipping risk management during peak season, including expanding sources and localizing networks.
Honeybee TMS by CTSI-Global provides a load optimization tool that makes it easy to expand networks, providing access to over 20,000 carriers. Honeybee TMS also simplifies paperwork and centralizes operations for rate comparison, making it easier for logistics teams to manage multiple contracts simultaneously. When holiday demand dips, seizing every opportunity to secure the best rate is pivotal to the bottom line.
Increase visibility in shipping processes
Tracking shipping in real-time also helps logistics teams to streamline operations and mitigate risks in an unpredictable market.
Honeybee TMS provides transparent carrier communication, route optimization, and dynamic remodeling of shipments in real time. It automatically tracks and organizes payments if a carrier bills a shipper, enabling logistics teams to recover loss and damage claims. When freighters move thousands of containers for holiday shopping, reduced invoicing errors help guarantee order fulfillment and preserve the bottom line.
Make data-informed decisions
When Honeybee TMS is combined with strong predictive analysis and logistics management services, logistics teams can communicate planning efforts for inventory management. Whether those adjustments are automated—reducing volume or otherwise—the most resilient teams consult third-party logistics partners to provide continuously updated insights.
These insights are based on predictive forecasting of trends for current disruptions and patterns from past peak seasons. Even supply chain planners’ best-laid strategies may need to adjust during peak season, and robust logistics management makes all the difference in supply chain resilience.
As a leading logistics partner, CTSI-Global stays prepared with the forecast for this winter and beyond. Contact us today to find out whether or not you’re ready to weather an economic downturn.