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The Effect Of Seasonal Supply Chain

Are you preparing your supply chain properly for fluctuations?

7Nov

Supply chains are not consistent.

The role of any supply chain is to move products from one place to another in a strict time frame. It allows for demand to be met and swiftly alleviate any deficit that may exist in either supply or demand.

They are important throughout the year, without them we would not be able to heat our homes, run our cars or have basic services. However, the next two months are the busiest of the entire year as retailers prepare for the Christmas rush.

The difference in supply needed is demonstrated by the amount of extra jobs created in supply chain depots. The Royal Mail works across the entire of the UK and in the Midlands alone, expects to see around 400 million packages sent and received. It even creates temporary depots and jobs to make sure they don’t have a backlog.

The same is true of most Christian countries, where Christmas represents the heaviest burden on supply chains.

Away from the retail model, supply chains again have peak times. Despite the prevalence of almost any fruit and vegetables throughout the year in most western countries, the supply chain begins in late summer and early autumn.

In around 5 weeks, the supply of almost all locally grown crops is picked, sorted and stored. This often equates to an entire year’s worth of produce moving from branches or fields, into atmospherically controlled warehouses.

It is a massive operation that has many challenges.

The main one being, that it is seasonal employment, meaning that those who work in the industry can only be employed for one or two months at a time. This lack of job security means that many seek alternative employment and their experience in the labour pool is lost. Therefore, despite the importance of the job, those who begin the supply chain are often unqualified and inexperienced.

The key to effective supply chain management to prepare for these fluctuations throughout the year. Making sure that there is enough manpower to function effectively and having processes in place for peaks and troughs. The challenge is always going to be maintaining a workforce that can be deployed effectively within these peak times without becoming purely seasonal workers.

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