While it’s still only August, it’s wise for logistics firms to start planning for how they will operate their supply chain efforts and potential seasonal hiring as the peak holiday shopping period approaches. The more they can do to get out in front of these efforts at this point in the year by assessing their current situations – and the challenges that come with them – the better off the implementation of their holiday plans will go.

Already, some of the biggest shipping companies in the world have mapped out their seasonal hiring plans and are moving now to implement them so they can ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible, according to Logistics Management. Of course, many others are doing the same thing, but in a lot of cases, this level of planning goes well beyond simply adding staff and also includes figuring out ways to keep their businesses profitable even as they take on far more significant amounts of work, such as adding surcharges to shipping costs during the holiday season.

This is especially important at a time when e-commerce continues to boom and drive record logistics activity nationwide.

“The expectation is for another record peak season with multiple days that’ll set records for package pickup and delivery,” Raj Subramaniam, executive vice president of global strategy, marketing and communications at FedEx, said on a recent conference call. “We continue to work directly with relatively small number of large customers that drive the majority of the surge and demand to ensure that we have appropriate pricing related to volume expectations and capacity needs.”

Getting ahead
This planning comes at a time when many logistics firms are already staffing up simply to meet growing demand during off-peak months, according to The Wall Street Journal. The staffing levels for firms in the e-commerce ecosystem are already approaching or surpassing last year’s holiday season peaks, which themselves were all-time highs. Tens of thousands more workers could be brought aboard into the various logistics-related sectors over the next several months as well, and many could be retained even after the holiday rush dies down.

To that end, some in the industry believe that logistics firms are now starting to approach regular operations as though the peak season simply exists year-round, Logistics Management noted. At this point, about 3 in 5 industry experts say they believe this year’s peak season will surpass last year’s, and another 1 in 3 or so believe there won’t be much change. That left only about 6 percent of respondents predicting a downturn.

Taking stock
With all this in mind, logistics executives have to consider the ways in which a staffing and technology adoption plan not only for the holiday season, but beyond, can help them succeed. The various ways in which companies can boost efficiency – especially when it comes to upgrading inventory management software – should be considered on a regular basis to ensure firms can meet the ever-expanding demands of the industry at large.