Posted by Marcel Sim in Operations
The holiday season is a busy one for most businesses as this the time of year when people tend to buy gifts for others or businesses are trying to drain their yearly expense budget. As sales volumes increase, the volume of foot traffic, number phone calls and number of shipments that need to be made will also increase. What are some ways to increase productivity to meet the demand this year?
Make Use of Available Technology
There are a large array of tools that you can use to make sure that you are meeting demand without burning out your workers. The use of electronic POS systems can enable you to take sales wherever they occur in your store. This means that you can help a customer complete a sale while he or she is standing in line or even in the aisle where the product is located. You may also want to use a digital checkweigher to ensure that gift bags and packages contain the exact amount of product as advertised on the package. It can also be used to determine how much an item costs to ship without making an error.
Make Sure You Have Plenty of People On-Call
The holiday season is not the time to be short staffed. You will need to have a certain number of workers on call as necessary or attempt to recruit workers who will be willing to come in for extra shifts on a moment’s notice. To determine how many workers you will need at any given time, you should study last year’s sales numbers or use workflow software to help create the ideal schedule.
Keep Extra Inventory On Hand
You should aim to keep about 10 percent more inventory in your store than you think you will need on any given day. In addition to the holiday season being busier than normal, you never know when a snowstorm or some other event will increase traffic to your store even further. The last thing that you want to do is run out of inventory or fail to keep your shelves stocked in a neat and visibly appealing manner. How busy does it get during the holiday season? On Black Friday in 2014, retailers reported sales totaling $1 billion.
Make Use of Social Media and Your CRM to Communicate With Customers
Communication is critical during the holiday season, which means that you need to use as many tools as possible to automate or make communication easier. The use of social media allows you to update customers about the availability of products, shipping prices and other discounts that may be available. A CRM may make it easier to send coupons to your best shoppers or mine data to determine what types of products you should feature the most prominently in your stores. This information can be shared with executives and managers throughout the company quickly and easily during the busy sales days.
Only Use Experienced Workers During This Time of Year
To increase your productivity, it may be best to only use experienced workers during the busy holiday season. Experienced workers understand the pressures of the season while also being able to do the job quickly, promptly and correct the first time. Furthermore, workers who have been with the company for many years may have relationships with customers, which may make it easier to serve them during what can be a stressful time.
It is important that your company is able to keep up with demand during the holidays. This is a time when your company may see its most revenue and actually turn a profit for the entire calendar or fiscal year. Therefore, make sure that your people can handle the pressure and that there are tools available to them when doing their job.