With the upcoming holiday season, warehouses all over the country are about to get much busier. The demand for products increases as people cross names off their Christmas lists and take advantage of holiday deals. That means the pressure on warehouses and manufacturing plants also increases. Is yours ready to handle the hustle and bustle? If not, you could experience the detrimental consequences of not being prepared. Like, a high turnover of employees, machines breaking down, and delayed shipments. You can ensure your warehouse has a successful holiday season with the following tips.
- Assess Your Layout
Before the craziness begins, you need to assess your warehouse’s layout. This means going step by step through each workflow to ensure it’s set up logically and optimally for high-season. Your layout could work for your regular workload, but not for December. You may need to hire machinery movers in Toronto to reorganize your floor.
Begin by looking at your inventory storage. Are you at maximum capacity, or do you have room for the extra products you’ll need to store during the holidays? If it’s already at capacity, relocate your slow-moving inventory to storage elsewhere so your high-demand items are closer to the line. Then, look at the packing and shipping section of your line. Is there enough space to accommodate the influx of seasonal workers? Perhaps you need to set up a temporary building to add an extra area for shipping.
Finally, assess each piece of machinery in your warehouse. Each machine needs to be working flawlessly and have the ability to take on more capacity during the holidays. If some equipment need repairs, give yourself lots of time to complete them. Alternatively, if you know a piece of equipment won’t make it through the busy season, have a backup already in place.
When doing your assessment of the layout, keep an eye out for health and safety hazards. With more business comes additional staff and more inventory. Things can get chaotic and disorganized fast. Make sure you have excess room in all pathways and around each machine.
- Hire Seasonal Staff
Speaking of the extra workload during the holidays, you need to be prepared with a larger workforce. That means hiring seasonal staff to fill in the gaps. While you could post an ad online and vet each potential worker yourself, you don’t want to take any risks during the busy season. You cannot afford workers who aren’t reliable, licensed, or experienced. Instead, work with a variety of recruitment agencies to find your seasonal employees. Give the recruiters your requirements for employees and let them vet the applicants. If you have deal-breakers, like having a forklift license, make sure the recruiters are aware.
Alternatively, you could set up a booth at an upcoming warehouse job fair. These fairs attract workers of all different types in the warehousing industry. While not all of them will have the job experience you require, there’s a good chance that some will. Plus, this gives you a chance to meet each worker in person and decide if they’d make a good addition to your team.
One of the biggest risks that warehouses face during the holidays is employee turnover. Having employees quit during this time can put your production back which affects your clients and customers. To have a successful and productive busy season, invest your efforts into preventing turnover. How can you do this? By becoming the best employer you can and encouraging your managers to do the same. Did you know that most employees feel more loyal to their manager than to the company? Ensuring your managers have the right training and support is crucial all year, but especially now.
Another way to decrease turnover is to offer incentives, like bonuses and raises, around the holidays. These can be the extra push your employees need to get through this stressful, high-pressure time. Consider getting more flexible with hours during this season. You’ll have season staff to fill in the gaps, so try to work with your permanent employees’ requests for time off. When it comes to onboarding new staff, make sure they see a clear path for growth in the company. This motivates them to work hard and stick around for longer.
- Brief Your Employees
For some of your team members, this will be their first holiday season in your warehouse. Make sure everyone is aware of what to expect. That means you might need to start implementing weekly meetings so everyone is in the loop with changing procedures. Come the busy season, having daily shift-switch meetings for people coming onto the floor is crucial. Everyone needs to know how their role changes during the holidays and what’s expected of them. And, since you’ll likely be busier yourself during this time, you may need to appoint extra leaders. These could be additional managers or supervisors who step in for you when you’re handling other responsibilities. However, remember that adequate training and support are crucial for management, especially new managers.
This is also a good time to verify all your employees’ licenses and certifications. If someone hasn’t updated their WSIB, make sure they do it as soon as possible. If your forklift drivers have expired licenses, ensure they renew them before the craziness begins. Ideally, you won’t have any first-time machine operators during the holidays, as this can pose risks to their safety and your production. If you do have new hires working this month, take extra precautions to make sure they’re shadowing someone with experience.
- Connect with Your Partners
Your warehouse’s efficiency is affected by your partners’ efficiency. Many warehouses work with more shipping companies during the holidays, including smaller shipping companies that can’t handle massive loads. Before placing all your trust in these partners, check in with them prior to the season. Confirm their capacity for work so you know how much you can depend on them. Also, confirm your backup plans should one of your partners bail.
- Prepare For The Upcoming Downtime
When the busy season ends, how will you readjust to typical workloads and efficiency? Will you have a cut-off date for all seasonal employees? When will you decide which season workers you want to keep on? And, when will you relocate your machinery back to its year-round positions? These are all things to figure out before the holidays. If you have plans in the new year for a total plant relocation or machinery relocation, January/February are good months to take action because things will have slowed down by then. Avoid making any company changes during the holidays; wait until the slower winter months to start implementing them.
Ready Machinery Movers provides efficient, quick, and affordable equipment and machinery moving in Toronto. If you need to make changes to your warehouse before the holidays or after the busy season when things slow down, we’re here to help.
Request a quote by sending us a message or calling us today: (905) 875-1990.