4 Tips for Managing Inventory During the Holidays

Stress --- do you feel it while you're managing your warehouse during the holiday season

While for many people the holidays are fraught with excitement, many companies – especially fulfillment service providers that manage a large amount of inventory – can fall into disorganization and stress during this season.

Fortunately, warehouse management does not have to be a nail in your proverbial coffin. Here are few tips to help you keep your warehouse running at peak shape throughout the holidays:

Consider Inventory Placement

If there are specific items — perhaps seasonal or clearance-related — that may prove to be far more popular than others during the holiday season, you may want to strategically place them in the warehouse to optimize everyone’s time.

Yes, this may mean that you need to do some heavy-lifting to move them now; but that should help you save a lot more time in the long run when people are grabbing those items to fulfill orders.

Use Web-based Software, Not Excel Files

If you are tracking purchases, inventory amounts, and orders through an Excel file, I have a better option for you: online software!

Web-based software for accepting, managing, and fulfilling orders can be affordable and easy to use.

Sure, moving to a different system may mean that your team needs to learn a new process; but the benefits far outweigh any temporary speed-bumps during the transition. Here are a few:

  • Access the system at any time, from anywhere, via any web browser
  • Automatically generate pick tickets, shipping labels, and more
  • Set up automated email alert notifications in regards to backorders, reorder points, shipping notices and more

P.S. Looking for a web-based solution? I know of a great one that you might want to look at 🙂

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

During the holiday season, sales and marketing teams are doing all they can to generate as much business as possible. This may mean that they are dreaming up and implementing ideas at the last-minute — including discounts and other promotions.

If you are responsible for ensuring that your warehouse can fulfill orders on-time during the holiday season, make sure to keep an open line of communication with the marketing and sales departments. You may need to be aggressive (and perhaps even a bit annoying)  in order to be sure that you know about any promotions that will affect your workload.

Remember the chaos will pass by eventually

Sales is an ebb and flow business. The busy holiday season may no doubt mean longer days & nights, as well as many stressful moments as you work on packaging and shipping orders.

However, keep in mind that everything your doing will help your company… and that your hard work in getting an order out the door on time will put a smile on the face of someone, somewhere.

And of course, don’t forget that the busy season only lasts for so long.

 

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LinkedIn: From a Connection Collector to a Sales Generator

Connection Image

When people talk about how they are using social media in the marketing efforts, Facebook and Twitter are often the first answers given.

Sure, they might be on LinkedIn. But they may currently only view it as a way for them to “collect people” – i.e. to amass connections.

If that sounds similar to how LinkedIn is utilized in your business, here is one idea for converting that connection data into a way to build relationships and generate sales.

Connections and Job Status

When someone experiences a change in their employment status, LinkedIn is often the very first social network that they update. Depending on our relationship with that person, taking action on that information can be valuable to them… and us.

I recently talked to a service provider that told me how he acts on that type of data. Here’s his story:

His company helps clients reach their marketing goals with design, print, direct mail, email, mobile, landing pages, and more.

While they have had success launching campaigns for a number of companies, they sometimes run into trouble because of high-turnover among the marketing departments that they work with. Lately, this has often occurred because of budget constraints, rather than performance.  But either way, the path to creating long-term, recurring business with those companies is not always easy when the employees change frequently.

In order to capitalize on the successes that they have helped marketers achieve, this company actively seeks to connect with those folks on social networks. Primarily, they try to do this on LinkedIn.

How LinkedIn Helps Deepen the Relationship

If a once-happy customer experiences a job change, the company still has a connection with them. For example, the company may:

  • Use LinkedIn to send a personal note when the job change does occur.
  • Offer up a recommendation for the person.
  • Refer the person’s profile to companies where there may be a fit.

Along with those one-time actions, they will make an effort to stay in touch with them in the weeks and/or months that follow.

By staying connected and engaged to these folks, they create opportunities to receive future sales and jobs once that person is in place at a new business.

How so? Well, they were already a fan of the services provided by that company. And their appreciation of them will no doubt be deeper because of the conversations and actions that took place during the process of changing jobs. Thus, they may be apt to highly recommend that company’s services to their new employer.

Can it Help You?

Certainly, this effort takes a bit of time and determination on behalf of that service provider! But in their words, “it’s helping me grow my business!”

If you are looking for ways to use social media to create and deepen relationships, paying attention to your LinkedIn connections might be a perfect place to start.

 

P.S. If you’d like to connect with me on LinkedIn, here I am!

 

 

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