Peak Season Planning Checklist

Michael DeFabis
Outside of the IDS Fulfillment Center

The holiday season, for many companies, will make or break their year and potentially the future of the business.

With an influx in demand that can often be 3 to 5 times or more of the average shipping volume, operations must execute at an extremely high level and delight customers.

Companies can ensure that demand is met and customer expectations are exceeded by preparing and creating a game plan.

Here is a checklist of 10 areas that should be reviewed to ensure successful holiday sales.

  • Forecast Order Volume – operations, marketing, and sales must work together to understand forecasting and projected sales. Take into account orders, units per order, and SKU velocity.
  • Understand Capacity – understand the current capacity for shipping with the existing infrastructure and work to improve the ability to meet demand.
  • Staffing Requirements – understand staffing requirements for holidays, and if adding season staff is needed, focus on hiring early.
  • Inventory – accurate inventory is the most critical aspect heading into peak season. It drastically improves efficiency and customer satisfaction.
  • Work with Carriers – Communicate with carriers to ensure capacity issues and additional freight pickups are handled well beforehand.
  • Shipping Expectations – Make sure to communicate with customers to ensure that you are communicating accurate transit times and last dates to receive the product before the holiday.
  • Maintain Flexibility – The holiday season is dynamic, so monitoring your performance and remaining flexible when needed is essential. This may mean adjusting staffing levels, shipping rates, or marketing campaigns.
  • SWOT Analysis – run a peak season Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis on the operations.
  • Include multiple team members and create a game plan around the results.
  • Expect the Unexpected – no matter how much planning and preparation is done, you can’t predict everything. Be prepared for weather delays, equipment breakdowns, staffing shortages, and system issues.

The holiday season represents a make-or-break period for many businesses, and success hinges on meticulous planning and execution. To ensure your company not only meets but exceeds customer expectations during this crucial time, consider the above takeaways for your peak Planning Checklist. For more sights on how to optimize your operations, check out our blogs at idsfulfillment.com/blog or contact us to learn how IDS can help make your supply chain a competitive advantage!


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