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Fear Not This Holiday Peak Season: Addressing 5 Key On-Demand Workforce Challenges

Busy Warehouse Employees

In the world of warehouse and supply chain management, peak season planning can often feel like navigating a haunted maze. Economic stability continues to amplify existing challenges for the warehouse industry and create nightmares for managers. Concerns such as the inability to accurately forecast available labor pool sizes and management issues have made the looming peak season a frightening scenario.

In this blog we examine the 5 main factors that are making planning for peak season so scary. We will also share how you can find peace of mind and maintain an efficient and high-performing workforce year-round. 

5 Key Challenges of 2023 Holiday Peak Season

Fluctuating Sales and High Returns

Bain & Company forecasts a 3% growth in holiday sales in 2023, below the 10-year average of 5.1%, but Bain projects 90% of that growth will come from non-store sales. With a substantial year-over-year rise in e-commerce sales, warehouse managers will face the challenge of handling an influx of orders and an inevitable surge in returns. Online gift purchases tend to generate a higher rate of returns than in-store purchases. The National Retail Federation reports that nearly 18% of holiday goods purchased last year were returned. Managing the logistics and inventory fluctuations resulting from these variables will be a complex planning task.

Inflation driven early holiday purchases

The rising cost of goods and services has motivated customers to seek value and secure purchases well in advance, disrupting traditional seasonal buying patterns. This shift can catch supply chains off guard, affecting inventory management and distribution strategies.

Resumption of student loan debt payments

As borrowers begin to repay their loans, it can lead to a reduction in disposable income, influencing purchasing habits and overall consumer spending. Once payments resume this fall, consumers could pay roughly $300 per month in loan repayments, per an analysis from the consumer data firm Earnest Analytics, which finds home goods and apparel sectors likely to be impacted. A change in financial priorities for large groups can have a cascading effect on demand patterns, making it challenging for supply chains to anticipate and meet shifting needs.

Labor uncertainty and potential strikes

The stability of the workforce is crucial for seamless supply chain operations. Labor disputes or uncertainties can disrupt the entire supply chain ecosystem as well as having a ripple effect on spending.

Climate volatility

Extreme weather events, natural disasters, or unexpected climate shifts can disrupt the transportation of goods, damage infrastructure, and hinder the overall flow of products. These disruptions can lead to delays, increased costs, and customer dissatisfaction.

Capstone's On-Demand Workforce Solutions

Peak season can be less frightening when you work with Capstone. Our flexible labor solutions provide crucial relief when resources are stretched, and time is of the essence. Our extensive network and specialized workforce can be deployed within 72 hours from more than 600 sites nationwide. Our 20,000 associates are trained to handle high-volume scenarios such as peak season efficiently and diligently.

Our pay-for-performance model ensures high performance and outstanding reliability while preventing employee burnout by maintaining a healthy work environment.

Our “Guest In Your House” model provides the expertise and scale of traditional 3PLs, the flexibility of a warehouse staffing solution, and the culture, transparency, and consistency of an in-house operation.

In addition, when you work with Capstone, you gain access to essential data that empowers your operation to make informed decisions and drive continuous improvement.

Use the form below to request a free assessment of your warehouse labor needs and to discover how Capstone’s solutions can streamline your operation and alleviate the fears and frustrations of peak season planning.