Top 5 tips to help small businesses plan for peak
The stress of peak season will soon be upon us!
And despite seeming like a mile away, now is a great time to start getting everything sorted, so it can be (relativity) smooth sailing.
‘Peak’ is the all-encompassing term for the busiest time of the year for ecommerce = Black Friday and Christmas. Although it will depend on the source, normally the time frame will between October to January.
To help you manage this high demand time, we will be covering our 5 top tips for small businesses to help you through the season! It may seem odd doing it now, but when October comes around you will be glad you did!
It’s best to arrange and plan when you have the comfort of time so when it gets to the peak periods, you can be confident in your operation. Along with our top tips, we have also included a handy check list (Check it out! It’s at the bottom of this blog).
1. Train your team
It doesn’t matter if you have two team members or twenty, how they operate in the high demand season will make the difference!
Providing extra training for staff (especially new hires or if you are considering getting temporary helpers) is super important. It is a great idea to start preparing this now, consider areas where you know you could improve?
You could create posters and plan training sessions! Covering topics from time management to best practices, which will not only help prepare for peak; but help with daily life also.
If you want to learn more, we uncover this more in a previous Packaging 101 blog; it looks at how create an efficient packing process!
2. Rethink your packaging selection
‘Time is Money’ as the famous saying goes, so you should take the time to consider some time saving packaging options!
You have options like boxes with a crash-lock base or pre-applied closure seal, that will defiantly speed up your packing times. So, let’s explore some:
- Crash-lock box – Various sizes, quick erect box, easy to open tear strip!
- Postal wraps – Comes with quick “self-seal” strip, variable fold allows for items off different sizes
- Postal envelopes – Various sizes available, easy to pack with self-seal strip, easy to open due to tear strip
Don’t forget, it really depends on your product offering to which option is best for your business! If you want to learn more, check out this blog post on how to choose the right ecommerce packaging for small businesses.
3. Protect your products
An area you may not have considered is product damages! Recently, we have written a few other blog posts cover this topic, so we won’t go into full detail here.
However, having the product damaged in transit is not only costing your business money but also reputation. In fact, we found that during peak 2021, 20% of retailers and 3PLs report that that their damages in transit increased!
The impact on your brand could be significant, specially due to peak surrounding Christmas! This mean it is vital to ensure your products arrive undamaged and intact.
4. Organise your space
What is your packing area like? Are the boxes in one corner, and the void in another? Reflect on ‘wasted time’ such as walking to gather materials, you could be adding minutes to your packing times without even realising it.
Consider standing time as well, when waiting to use something; little things like having more equipment (like cutters, packing knife, or pens) could make a massive difference. It’s important to explore where you could increase efficiencies!
5. What about automation?
The word ‘automation’ can conjure images of a heavy expense, however, there are great options out there for smaller businesses to get their foot in the door of automation!
You can start small with an electric tape machine, that can be programmed to dispense pre-set cut lengths of tape! Also, it’s ready to apply directly to the box, significantly speeding up the packing time!
Train your staff
- Create posters
- Plan training sessions
- Are you taking on new staff? If so, what does that entail for your business?
Check your inventory
- Other materials
Review your space
- Can you optimise it?
- Is the equipment too spread out?
- How much time is it taking to pack?
Review your packaging
- Does it protect enough?
- How quick is a pack to assemble?
Think about automation
- Is it feasible for your business?
- What equipment would be best for you?
At Macfarlane Packaging, we’re working with small businesses every day to help them with their packaging. If you want a tailored recommendation for your brand to help with peak, get in touch with us today.