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Posted 09/07/2017

Beating the Holiday/End-of-Year Rush

The wild and crazy, one hundred days of summer have given way to the anticipation of autumn. You’ve felt the crispness in the morning air of late, a sure sign that fall will soon be upon us. Followed in short order by the holiday season. Brace yourself - Christmas is less than one hundred days away. With the fourth quarter looming ahead, now’s the time to prepare for the holiday season and the end-of-year rush. Attention now to these key areas will ensure you arrive at Friday, December 22nd and Friday, December 29th, having met all deadlines and fulfilled each order while still retaining both your workforce and your sanity.
  • Holiday Closings
What hours of operation will the company observe for the week of Thanksgiving? Will you operate at full capacity on Black Friday or allow your employees a long Thanksgiving weekend? With Christmas Eve falling on Sunday, how will you accommodate the Christmas Holiday? And the New Year’s Holiday the following week? Grab a calendar and plot out a workable plan, now, when there’s time to adjust the manufacturing schedule to allow for holiday closings while still meeting all the product/order deadlines.
  • The Vacation Calendar
Many employees save vacation time so they can travel to celebrate with family. Now’s the time to determine if you’ll be able to cover those hours and positions adequately with the remaining workforce or whether arrangements for temporary staffing will need to be made. Temps who already know the ropes, from employment this past summer or last December, are your best bet as they will require less training and adjustment time. College students whose Christmas break begins in early December and can last through the mid-to end of January, are often eager to earn money and fill in the gaps left by vacationing employees. Make arrangements now with your staffing firm to cover the gaps, reduce overtime costs, and reduce stress for your staff with quality temps.
  • Inventory Management
As you make plans to charge full-steam ahead toward the close of the year, don’t be caught with a shortage of materials to meet holiday/year-end orders. The fourth quarter is not the time to take chances with the laws of supply and demand. Check in with suppliers now to be on the front end of information about shortages, delays, or any number of factors that could wreak havoc with your manufacturing schedule. Be proactive. Resist the “it will all work out” mindset. Aggressively pursue any and all data that will allow you to make the most informed, and most effective decisions.
  • Freight and Shipping Delays
“Normal” Minnesota winter weather can throw a wrench into the cogs of transportation. Then there are those “act of God” weather scenarios, that can occur anywhere in the world, whose far-reaching effects can interfere with multiple modes of transportation. You also must factor in that the retail sector is preparing for mega Black Friday sales. And every other business is also on high alert to meet end-of-year orders. All of this can combine to create a perfect storm of shipping and freight delays. Plan now to cushion your schedule with as much extra wiggle time as possible to allow for both the foreseen and unforeseen delays in transportation common in the fourth quarter. Plan to pare down your December to-do list as much as possible. Anticipate that the demands of holiday functions and family-related events will shorten the typical work day/work week. Every step taken now toward avoiding a panic state in December will be appreciated by both employees and family alike. Attention now to detailed planning will have you arriving at Friday, December 22nd with all the company obligations met. Keep your eye on the prize of a stress-free weekend leading up to the Monday holiday. MPS Technical is ready, willing, and most importantly, very capable of assisting with all your staffing needs as you close in on your precision manufacturing goals for 2017. Contact our team to discuss a solution to your company’s unique staffing situation.