What is Peak Shipping Season? [+9 Free Preparation Tips]

Are you prepared for peak shipping season this year? 

There's probably nothing more stressful than the holiday season, especially for shippers. If you're not well prepared, you will surely be overwhelmed with shipment orders when the peak shipping season comes around. It's your priority to avoid being overwhelmed and maintain a smooth order fulfillment flow.

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When is the Peak Shipping Season? 

The peak shipping season is a period of time at the end of summer that stretches into the winter. This shipping season roughly corresponds with the holidays around the second half of the year. It traditionally begins on Black Friday and extends into the New Year beyond the winter holidays of December.  

It's an intense time for shippers, and it is often a make-it-or-break-it moment for businesses.  

As you can imagine, the logistics challenges that shippers can encounter during this time of the year can be vast and overwhelming, with little breathing room to correct errors and a constant demand for order fulfillment.  

 

The Factors That Drive Peak Shipping Season  

The main reason why peak shipping season is crucial is that it coincides with an increased demand for shipping from both retailers and consumers. From the "Back to School" sales that begin in mid-August to the numerous marketing campaigns between then and the New Year's holiday, peak shipping season is expected to have an exploding retail demand curve. Specifically for retailers, many businesses stock their inventory ahead of time to ensure they'll be able to meet their customers' demands.  

There may be other factors that influence the demand during the peak shipping season. As we can see from the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted consumer behavior. With most people buying their products online, which require shipping, we've seen a significant shift in the supply chain industry to eCommerce. The numbers and rates reached unpredictably high levels! 
 

How Does Peak Shipping Season Affect Shipping Costs? 

Typically, you will see increased costs related to logistics during peak shipping season and a rise in expenses across the board for both parties involved. Many things can impact the cost of shipping goods. These costs can be in labor for transportation and loading, higher fuel expenses, tariffs, and other factors.  

Occasionally you will see retailers trying to anticipate these rises ahead of time, thus accelerating them with practices such as placing large, out-of-the-ordinary orders during irregular seasons to capitalize on today's price while anticipating a more expensive item tomorrow.  

Regardless of the circumstances, what can you do to prepare for such a hectic period of time?

 

Peak Shipping Season shipping costs

 

4 Strategies to Implement for the Peak Shipping Season 

How can you overcome the challenges of the fast-paced and overwhelming peak shipping season?  

Four common strategies for surviving this crazy time of the year and coming out fully intact on the other side include things like shipping early, working with a logistics company, evaluating all of your viable options, and obtaining freight quotes.  

Ship Your Orders Early  

For the first strategy, shipping early, mainly involves anticipating products in peak demand and peak demand shipping periods and working ahead of them as much as possible. The advantage of this strategy is that it accounts for delays and allows for some slack in the system. If the orders run into any issues, you can minimize the impact of the delays ahead of time. Just-in-time strategies will often fail during this period of the year and could lead to logistical nightmares.  

Work with a Logistics Expert 

The second strategy, working with a logistics company, is an excellent strategy for shippers that can be easily overwhelmed or who do not have the infrastructure necessary to handle the exponentially larger shipping volumes that can occur. They provide expert insights into shipping during this season, negotiate better shipping rates, and utilize a vast network of shipping distribution centers to make sure everything goes according to plan.  

Evaluate Your Shipping Solution Options 

As far as the strategy that involves considering all your options, this means that you look for the best shipping solution for each category of item that you want to send out. While one-size-fits-all solutions are often great from a managerial standpoint, they're rarely the most cost-effective or efficient when push comes to shove. Evaluating the best options available to you during peak shipping season may result in smoother sailing as time progresses.  

Obtain Freight Quotes via Rate Shopping 

Obtaining freight quotes helps you gauge the cost of shipping and lets you allocate capital ahead of time. Multi-carrier rate shopping can also help you find the best freight carrier at the best price. 

 

Peak Shipping Season gift box delivery truck

 

5 Ways Companies Can Prepare for Peak Shipping Season 

How can companies prepare now? 

While we still have some time ahead of us, companies can do a few things right now to help themselves prepare for the onslaught to come. We'll briefly outline what they are and how you can implement these suggestions in the here and now. 

Construct Partnership Networks TODAY 

When working with experts, the sooner you start your relationship with them, the better. They can help you identify critical weaknesses that you need to address now and offer solutions to solve these problems. One thing is certain: You don't want to take on new business collaboration in the heat of the moment so, if you anticipate you might need an expert's advice and network of solutions, we advise you to begin that search now rather than later.  

Move to Digital Communications  

If your firm hasn't yet fully embraced the digital revolution, now is the time to do so. You can implement these strategies ahead of peak season and work out the issues so that everything is ready to go. Aside from that, digital solutions offer you substantial cost efficiencies and give you a range of operational benefits that you cannot ignore. It has long moved from a competitive advantage to having this kind of system in place to a de facto requirement.  

You can use web-based software like a carrier portal or supplier portal to streamline all communication.  

Start the Planning Process Early 

The sooner you can begin your planning process for the upcoming shipping season, the better. You will want this plan to be as comprehensive as possible. You will want to look ahead but also into the past to find previous failures and how you can avoid them. Learning from your mistakes is usually half the battle when it comes to managing logistics. Being cognizant of weaknesses and how to counteract them can help you maintain operational efficiency during the most hectic times.  

Research New Ways of Doing the Same Old Things 

You want to find new ways of doing old things that save you time, money, and hopefully easier at the end of the day. We recommend anyone to pursue this strategy during the season itself but rather ahead of time.  

Hone Your Pickup and Delivery Processes  

You will want to get your pickup and delivery processes down to an art with an eye towards flexibility and adaptability. The latter, adaptability, is often vital to success when shipping volumes increase exponentially.  

 

How ShipERP Solves Your Peak Shipping Season Challenges 

ShipERP provides a multitude of ways you can save costs and streamline your shipping processes. Without a doubt, you'll never have to worry about handling your peak shipping season! 

Here's a peek of what ShipERP can do for you: 

  • Enable a multi-carrier rate shopping strategy to save time and money 
  • Manage and centralize your communication with external partners, like suppliers and freight carriers 
  • Integrate all shipping steps into one streamlined process 
  • Track your shipments in real-time to improve visibility and transparency 

Sign up for a free product demo of ShipERP today!

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