As crazy as it may sound, planning for peak shipping season has already begun! In the U.S., peak shipping season extends from August until January of the following year. Peak shipping season can be broken down into two spikes in demand. The first occurs from August until October. This significant increase can be largely attributed to the holidays occurring in the next few months like Thanksgiving and Christmas. After a brief lull towards the end of October, a second spike carries the trend from November until the end of January.
The more customers shop online, the more expensive the season becomes for shippers. The pandemic shifted the mindset of many consumers – instead of placing an online order every once in a while, they started to depend on e-commerce. As a result, this peak shipping season is projected to be more expensive and busy for shippers than 2020.
Both FedEx and UPS are increasing their additional handling surcharges as a result of high order volumes and tight capacity. Both increases will start over the summer and last through peak shipping season. While raising surcharges is a start to handling peak shipping season, technology is providing a larger and more sustainable answer.
How Technology and Automation Can Help
In order to keep up with the steady increase in order volume, FedEx is working to increase its capacity by building out its infrastructure. The expansion will include 16 new automated facilities that will be finished just in time for peak shipping season. They already have over 140 facilities that are fully automated! FedEx’s automated facilities use advanced technology to handle, sort and scan packages. Automating traditionally manual processes saves them time and money without the added stress of hiring additional people.
For shippers and other peak season stakeholders, integrating technology into their traditionally manual logistics processes can feel overwhelming. A great way to start is by implementing a transportation management system (TMS). By leveraging a TMS, shippers can rate, book and track their shipments on a single platform where they can collaborate with carriers.
A TMS that integrates directly with a visibility platform is especially important. Navigating an increase in order volume while keeping up with growing customer expectations can be difficult. With a visibility platform, shippers can view each aspect of their supply chain in detail as moves are planned, alerts are sent and real-time adjustments are made. Visibility platforms collect data and use it to create actionable analytics. By leveraging a visibility platform that integrates seamlessly with their TMS, shippers can keep customers informed while continuously improving their logistics operation!