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Can you 'peak' too soon?


Posted on 24/06/2016 by Dan Rowe

Having previously worked in the Logistics industry for 10 years, I know that ‘peak’ trading is a period that is talked about throughout the year with a mixture of dread and excitement.

I enjoyed being busy and never worried about extending my usual 50-hour week to a minimum of 60 hours during the winter months. The downside that I remember is negotiating with a shipping company to increase our allocation by 20% and being reminded that just because it is peak the ship doesn’t actually get any bigger.

Of course, it’s not just the shipping companies that struggle with increased demand and limited capacity. Warehouses see their capacity stretched and with the increase of e-commerce, retailers are also struggling to secure the increased capacity required from the parcel carriers.

So with all this in mind, when should ‘peak’ planning begin and what area do retailers prioritise?

1. Forecasting - How accurate are the forecasts?

  • How do you compile your sales forecast?

  • Is your previous ‘peak’ experience reflective of current trends?

  • Can your suppliers support the increased demand within the required timescales?

2. Capacity - Do you have enough?

  • Are your warehouse facilities big enough?

  • Is there additional space within the network?

  • Do your existing suppliers have the required capacity?

  • Will you require further 3rd party assistance?

3. Resource - Staffing plays a critical role during the ‘peak’ period.

  • How do you ensure you have the numbers of employees required?

  • How do you secure the top talent in the market?

  • How do you induct that talent to ensure consistency?

  • How do you create the ‘one team’ mentality?

The common theme between the 3 topics is communication and relationships, both internal and external. Getting all stakeholders bought in to the ‘peak’ planning process and taking time out of their current commitments to align your supply chain is crucial to the success or failure of ‘peak’ in the modern omni-channel environment.

Having moved from an operational role into logistics recruitment 6 years ago, I no longer worry about how big a ship is or if I have enough trailers and drivers to complete the short term requirement of the increased workload. Instead, I now focus on how to attract and pipeline the best peak talent for my clients as early as possible to ensure their success,

Every industry goes through their own ‘peak’ period and I strongly believe that when it comes to the Retail / FMCG sectors, the answer to the question:"Can you peak too soon?" is definitely NO!

If you have recruitment requirements for the peak period in your business and would like find out more, visit our contract recruitment page here.

Alternatively, get in touch with one of our logistics recruitment experts today on 0161 825 0825 or email:

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