Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Prepare for 4th Quarter in a Warehouse or Distribution Center

Posted by Neil O'Connell, SVP Technology, Innovation, & Product Development on Aug 28, 2018 4:00:00 AM

Fourth quarter is coming. Will your facility be ready? For many enterprises, the last quarter of the year is when they do up to 50% of their business. That surge in inventory and activity can be challenging unless steps are taken to prepare for increased demands. businessman-2108029_640(1)

Whether you will be managing increased inventory to fulfill large holiday orders or shipping out as much as possible to lower year-end inventory levels, creating a strategic plan will be key to controlling the chaos.

Here are 5 essential steps to preparing for the 4th quarter:

  1. Refine warehouse layout

The layout of your warehouse may be working now, but what about when there is more inventory, and you’re filling more orders? Look for ways to improve storage capacity and use of space to make sure your warehouse can handle increased activity.

Use your data to prepare: Real-time telematic monitoring provides insight on operator and forklift utilization, potential traffic flow issues, and safety risks. It can also identify pedestrian walkways and stop zones that should be adjusted to ensure safety.

  1. Evaluate storage space

The 2017 holiday season had a 17.8% jump in retail e-commerce sales. Inventory may increase by up to 40% to keep up with demand during the 4th quarter. Evaluate how the added stock will impact storage space to determine if traffic patterns will change and if forklifts will be restricted due to aisle spacing or rack positions.

Use your data to prepare: Telematics’ advanced location leverages geofencing, which determines the best options for repositioning pedestrian walkways and stop zones, and indicates where to restrict larger forklifts in areas where inventory placement may hinder maneuverability.

  1. Analyze inventory projections

You can’t fill orders quickly if you are waiting for inventory. Anticipating demand is not an exact science, but history and current sales will assist in this forecast.

Use your data to prepare: Review previous years’ sales reports and the latest order flow projections from your sales and marketing team.

  1. Determine staff and equipment needs

Will you need more staff if orders are significantly greater than planned? Do you have enough forklifts to accommodate an increase in operators? Now is the time to create a backup plan.

Use your data to prepare: Look at telematic operator and forklift-utilization reports to determine if operators and forklifts are being utilized to full capacity. This valuable data factors in total activity, travel with load times, and how many pallets are moved per hour.

  1. Analyze maintenance

All equipment needs to be ready to meet the demands of the 4th quarter. Never assume that maintenance or needed repairs have been completed.

Use your data to prepare: Check lift equipment, power conveyors, backup power supplies, scanners, order printers, and company vehicles. Telematic maintenance report cards indicate when maintenance was last performed and show existing repair needs.

Demands on your facility accelerate during the 4th quarter, but telematic monitoring and insight can help you prepare while keeping warehouse efficiency and safety in perfect balance.


Topics: warehouse systems, fleet right-sizing, distribution center, warehouse traffic management, routing, expanding business, value driven strategies, connected warehouse solutions, IoT, lean, stress

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