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Toys and Games Fulfillment: Conquering Extreme Seasonality

by Mike DeFabis on 2015-02-16 16:36:44

There are very few industries that have as much seasonality, especially in the 4th quarter, as the toys and games industry.  Every toy company knows when peak season coming, but many times there can be some unexpected challenges that arise.  Finding ways to conquer this high seasonality can be a challenge, and if your orders are not shipped in time for the jolly old man in the big red suit to come down the chimney (aka Santa), there are going to be some very unhappy kids.  This blog will give you some operational tips and tricks to help prepare your toy and game company for the holiday rush and make sure that all the kids are as happy as can be on Christmas morning. toys_and_games_industry_image

Allow for Flexibility and Scalability

When laying out your fulfillment space, be sure to allow for growth (obvious, I know).  You need to have the flexibility to add additional packing stations by using folding tables or easily movable tables. 

Make sure that your pick faces allow for quick replenishment.  Whether that be through flow racking or keeping the overflow product close to the pick face, so your pickers are more efficient.

Easily Trainable Job Functions

When order volume increases, so does the need for workers to help fill those orders.  This might mean the addition of seasonal workers.  By keeping certain job functions easy and slightly automated, that will allow for those seasonal workers to come in and start working with very little training.  New employees should also have job functions that have limited opportunity for error.  This can be packing orders or picking product prior to auditing

Stock Up

arrow+upMake sure that you have enough inventory to cover your influx of orders (again, obvious).  While this should be a Fulfillment 101 practice, don’t wait until the last minute to scramble with your suppliers to get that inventory.  If product is coming into your facility from China, plan accordingly because it may take longer for transportation prior to the holidays.

Reward Your Employees

As the busy season progresses, employees typically work longer hours. If this busy time is around the holidays, this means less time with their family.  Your employees are the ones that make or break your business during the holiday rush.  Be sure to reward them for their efforts!  This will help to keep moral high and give them the incentives they need to push through.

Extreme seasonality in your industry, such as Christmas, is inevitable. Staying on top of your peak season ‘game’ will not only decrease your risk for pick, pack and shipping errors, but it will also keep the little ones smiling on the biggest holiday of the year. And as you know in this type of industry, a happy kid equals a happy, returning customer; a win-win for you and the growth of your business.

For more information on IDS’ scalability, flexibility and proven processes in the toys and games industry, contact us today!

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