Christmas in July- Preparing your Warehouse for the Holidays

Wonder where the expression “Christmas in July” came from? It is said to be attributed to an opera in which a group of children rehearse a Christmas song in July. One of the children says, “When you sing Christmas in July, you rush the season.” Hollywood came out with a movie in 1940 called, “Christmas in July,” in which the main character buys presents for family and friends after supposedly winning the lottery.

Today, many retailers have Christmas in July sales to spark revenues, which may fall during the summer months as many consumers are vacationing rather than shopping. Many retailers today have back to school sales in July on school supplies, electronics and apparel.

In 2016, the US holiday season retail e-commerce revenues are projected to amount to $89.52 billion, a 13.3 percent increase from the previous year, according to Statista, a leading internet statistics company. Therefore, as a retailer or distributor, you need to improve throughput and efficiency in the warehouse by speeding the picking operation. During the holiday season, more merchandise runs through your warehouse. From an increase in products at the shipping docks to the massive amount of orders out the door, you need to keep things flowing. Bottlenecks in your warehouse operations must be avoided.

Ever increasing SKU numbers and “piece” picking requirements combined with rush orders and an influx of temporary employees can spell disaster for retailers trying to keep customers happy during the all-important holiday season. With so much at stake, operations managers are looking for new tools to gain a competitive edge and to be better prepared for the upsurge in orders.

Retailers need to optimize their warehouse layout for maximum efficiency and incorporate best practices learned from previous holiday seasons, such as placing fast-selling items closer to pickers.

unex span track

As 60% of a picker’s activity is attributed to travel time, reducing this time can speed fulfillment. Re-slot pick positions to reduce travel times. Do this often- don’t just do it once and leave it that way. As new products enter the warehouse, you’ll want to re-slot to keep items in the optimal location.

UNEX flow racks can be placed anywhere in open warehouse space to create extra capacity and storage. With tilted trays or knuckled tracks that present products to pickers, allowing them to see what they are picking, you can improve order fulfillment times and eliminate errors. Additional gravity conveyor lines can be set up to handle the increasing flow of SKUs from packing areas to staging areas for shipping. And outfitting your racks with wheel beds ensures that no matter what your changing SKUs look like, you have the right carton flow track to handle them.

If you’re struggling with your seasonal surges, or just want to be ahead of the curve (and your competitors), contact a UNEX Pickologist. We’ll help you identify your points of pain and provide the solutions to relieve them.