Seasonal peaks can become a real headache for your warehouse. This is why you need to implement a plan to keep your warehouse running well without gumming up your other operations.
Lay out Picking Strategies. Different seasons call for different demands and different picking strategies. Some seasons, like back to school season, call for the picking of many different products while spikes in demand which are caused by promotion only calls for the picking of one particular product. It is important to have a plan in place for these situations so your warehouse continues to run smoothly even when some products are getting far more attention than they usually would. Know how many lines need to be in use for each peak and how you are going to handle orders which have multiple products from different lines.
Design for Peak. If your warehouse is designed to distribute products through different channels with different peaks at different times, it is going to run much smoother than a warehouse which must handle all of the different peaks in the same area. The store replenishment line of a corporation’s warehouse may have a peak at the same time every month while the online order line could quite possible peak a few times a day. It is your job to design you warehouse to be able to handle all of those different peaks without gumming up distribution lines which are not experiencing a peak.
Design for Flexibility. Your warehouse should be designed to accommodate future growth. Though you may not experience peaks in your warehouse all too often, you need to be able to take on a peak when it does occur and be willing and able to implement different systems than you would use on a day to day basis. You may also have to implement other storage options during a peak if all items cannot be shipped as quickly as the orders are being picked and filled.
Utilize Automation. Often times, facilities call in extra employees at the time of a peak, but this is not always the best option for every warehouse. In areas where more bodies will cause a line to be crowded and even less productive, implement automated systems. Automated systems in certain areas can free up employees to perform manual processing where manual processing is necessary and keep the orders flowing.
Realize Your Staffing Needs. Keep a work schedule with your employees where during a peak time full time and part time employees can work extra hours without exhausting either of them. It is also helpful to keep some full time employees trained across multiple departments so they can go where they are needed and know what they are doing. This frees up temporary employees to perform less skilled tasks like picking and packing.