R2 Logistics

How to Succeed During Peak Shipping Season

Expert Tips for Peak Season Shipping 2021 

The end of the summer kicks off the start of the peak shipping season. If you’re a business owner or operate a logistics company, it’s essential to plan for the peak shipping season and figure out how you’ll succeed. In this post, we’ll take a look at how to succeed during peak season shipping, including how 2021 will look a bit different from years past.

When Is the Peak Shipping Season?

For shipping, peak season runs from mid-August until Thanksgiving. Many markets experience high demand during this time, which means more goods on the road. This period is particularly peak for the retail industry, where stores stock their shelves for back-to-school shopping and prepare for the coming holiday rush.

What to Expect from Peak Shipping Season

You can expect to see freight rates rise and freight capacity plummet during this peak season. That activity can raise significant challenges for retailers and all the more for those managing the supply chain and logistics.

What to Expect from Peak Season in 2021

The empty store shelves we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic have only been the tip of a much bigger iceberg. The shipping industry is experiencing considerable challenges, which some news outlets have classified as “chaos.”

Editorial commentary aside, it’s true that the shortages of ships, containers, and personnel has impacted the shipping industry. As a result, many industries and businesses have seen shipping delays and shortages of critical supplies.

What does that mean for peak season in 2021? Unfortunately, it means more of the same, at least for now. We might expect to see persistent shortages of containers, reduced freight capacity, and a lack of available shipping personnel. For instance, peak season will almost certainly exacerbate the current shortage of truck drivers, causing additional delays in an already burdened industry.

How to Prepare for Peak Shipping Season

How can businesses and logistic companies prepare for peak season shipping in 2021?

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1) Think Outside the Box

Container shipping peak season can present challenges for overseas shipping. While airfreight can provide rapid service, Express LCL (“less-than-container”) shipments can offer a fast alternative at a price that’s less than airfreight. The point is that now may be an excellent time to consider every option to ensure fast, affordable shipping.

2) Factor in Delays

If booking with a carrier, factor in the entire transit time—from shipment pick up to delivery. Transit time may be significantly longer than shipping time alone, so it may be advantageous to allow additional transit time.

3) Rely on Technology

During the peak shipping season, you need every advantage you can get. For example, you can efficiently utilize a transportation management system (TMS) for your trucking fleet to optimize route planning and ensure efficient deliveries. You can also use other logistics technology to automate warehousing processes and inventory control, providing up-to-the-minute data on your entire operation.

4) Partner with a Logistics Provider

If you run a business, consider the benefits of partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. These organizations can assist you with every level of your supply chain, whether that includes shipping by sea, air, ground, or some combination of the three.

Preparing for Peak Holiday Shipping Season

When is Peak Holiday Shipping Season?

The peak holiday shipping season refers to the fourth quarter of the year, October through December when order and shipment volumes increase. This holiday shopping season and popular shopping days lead to more orders to fulfill and more returns to process.

During this time, excessive online purchases disrupt supply chain efficiencies as online brands try to keep up with demand, manage inventory, and fulfill more orders, while carriers become busier than usual, working hard to deliver packages on time.

Since it’s the gift-giving season, eCommerce returns are a more significant issue during the peak shipping season.

Additionally, customers expect more from their online shopping experience, and those eCommerce companies who manage their logistics efficiently will bring in more customers and keep them coming back.

How to manage the peak holiday shipping season? Work with a 3PL!

Working with a 3PL during the peak shipping season will allow your company to improve operations, increase profitability, invest in technology, boost visibility, and enhance your customer experience.

The core order fulfillment services are pick, pack, and ship services, so work with a 3PL to upgrade yours! When a shopper orders through one of your sales channels, the order goes directly to your fulfillment warehouse. There, a picker finds the items for the order on the shelves. Then a packer selects the perfect box, packages the order, and applies the shipping label. Finally, the shipper makes sure the order gets picked up by the correct carrier when it’s ready to go. If your third-party logistics provider may offer same-day shipping, you just boosted your customer experience for any last-minute shoppers.

Returns in the supply chain world are also known as reverse logistics. ECommerce returns are unavoidable, but you can turn that responsibility over to your 3PL. Your return rate will depend on several factors, including the type of merchandise you sell. Products sized, such as clothing and shoes, have higher return rates, but your 3PL company can process those returns. Reverse logistics include inspecting returned items to stock damaged items or return items to inventory for resale. Reverse logistics can also decrease its time to make undamaged products available for purchase again.

With the exponential growth of eCommerce fulfillment, a rise in peak season orders shows no signs of slowing. Plus, researchers predict supply chain disruptions will continue. To prepare for the peak holiday shipping season, audit your warehouse as soon as possible. Prepare early so your team can upgrade technology and workflows and prepare for a successful season.

Partnering with an experienced 3PL like R2 Logistics can help make the chaotic holiday season more manageable, especially if you’re:

  • Transitioning fulfillment from your home to a professional location
  • Preparing to launch a new brand
  • Looking to delegate warehouse management or taking a hybrid approach

Fulfilling holiday demand on your own is a challenge, and leasing your warehouse is expensive and time-consuming. The sooner you get started with R2 Logistics, the easier it will be.

Are You Prepared for Peak Shipping Season?

At R2 Logistics, we offer a suite of innovative logistics solutions to optimize your supply chain. Contact us today if you’d like to know more about how our services can assist your company. We can put you on the road (or the sea!) to succeed even during the most challenging season 2021 has to offer. 

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