When it comes to major logistics events, technology can often be the determining factor of success. Take Black Friday and Cyber Monday for example. It takes planning and precision to execute an efficient, effective supply chain under typical circumstances; the surge leading into Black Friday and Cyber Monday only magnifies the importance of thorough preparation—or the frustration of a glitch.
Because your supply chain is only as good as the technology platform backing it, it’s crucial to make sure your third party logistics provider (3PL) has the stable systems and scalability to handle peak volumes.
Consider a supply chain stress test
A stress test can determine and demonstrate if your 3PL has the advanced technology and capabilities that contribute to a seamless logistics event. Then, based on the results of the test, your 3PL can make system modifications to help make sure shipments go out on time and are delivered on time. Though it’s too late to request and run a stress test for this Black Friday, it’s worth scheduling with your 3PL now to prepare for your next peak season.
What supply chain steps you can take now
In the meantime, ask your 3PL these questions. By better understanding their technology, you’ll know if they can support you through the busiest shopping season as well as the impending returns season.
1. Have you done any volume stress testing on your system? If so, at what level of volume relative to current throughput do you have issues?
2. Are you willing to do an end-to-end volume test?
3. In what ways can you scale your system if you run into volume-related performance issues? How quickly could these corrective actions take place?
4. Which third parties are involved in maintaining your service? Have you stress tested their solutions?
See the big picture this Black Friday
For many retailers, Black Friday and Cyber Mondays are frazzled, overwhelming days. A clear view of your overarching Black Friday supply chain can help promote positive shopper experiences and minimize unexpected problems.
It’s not too early to start thinking about retail supply chain changes to make before your next peak surge—whether that’s next spring or next November. And if your returns process isn’t as clearly defined as you’d like, there’s still time to work out the kinks before returns start pouring in after the Christmas holiday.
Whether your focus is on supply chain technology or a better strategy for returns, our experts are ready to help.