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Preparing your distribution centre for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

By 21st November 2018Blog

Black Friday is the biggest shopping day in the UK each year, with Cyber Monday supporting it on the same weekend. It’s a huge event, with an estimated £8 billion spent over the weekend in 2017.

With that comes a wealth of challenges. Not just for retail stores, marketing departments and call centre sales teams, but for distribution centres too. You’re responsible for shipping a huge amount of orders on these two days, and the logistical issues can quickly spiral if you aren’t prepared. Make sure to follow these tips to ensure Black Friday and Cyber Monday go off without a hitch in your distribution centre.

Keep your pick/pack and storage areas clear

It’s easy for your pick/pack and storage areas to get built up and lose a little bit of organisation when your staff have a lot to do. However, it is absolutely vital that you keep these key areas clear during your busiest days. It should really be something you implement throughout the year but it truly is crucial on Black Friday weekend.

The sheer number of orders you’ve got coming through, and the increase in stock, mean you cannot work efficiently if areas are cluttered or poorly organised, and you risk orders being mixed up if products aren’t stored effectively, leading to all kinds of operational problems in the days that follow as you deal with more returns, and have to send out corrected orders.

Look after your staff

As these are the busiest days of the year, your staff are going to be working very hard. Which is great, however, you must be careful not to burn them out. Staff well-being is a key consideration for Black Friday weekend, as you need to keep everyone’s energy and morale high if you’re going to fulfil every order.

Make sure staff are taking regular breaks as needed, and that they’re hydrated and eating. Ideally, if you’re providing food, ensure it’s healthy – while it might be a good thought to treat everyone to pizza to help them enjoy an otherwise tough day, junk food will just leave the team sluggish, while healthy meals will give them the energy they need.

Double down on security

You need to be exceptionally vigilant on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, for a number of reasons. Firstly, you’re going to have more stock on-site than normal, something that thieves will be aware of.

And then there’s the threat from within – with so much stock to keep track of, there’s a heightened chance of your own staff potentially looking to steal items during shifts. This is even more likely if you’ve had to hire in temporary staff to help with the extra workload, as they’ve less to lose if they get caught. It’s vital that you make sure you’ve got robust security in place, both for watching over your centre to ward off external thieves, and also to ensure staff aren’t taking any items home with them.

Follow these tips and you’re sure to rise to the challenge of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, keeping your distribution centre running as smoothly as possible on these incredibly busy days.

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