¿What are the challenges facing logistics on Black Friday?

Although Black Friday is a naturally American tradition (for Thanksgiving), either because of the influence of the United States or because of the very opportune date (end of November), it is true that in many places around the world this day has been taking on greater relevance and importance; for physical stores and e-commerce, it is an excellent opportunity because millions of entrepreneurs expect a great flow of people as well as a high volume of sales, which is a challenge to meet the demand generated by a day like Black Friday

But the key to properly managing the logistics of this day, focuses on how to manage all those customers who have a special interest to buy on this day, during the Black Friday is more than possible to achieve sales on a large scale, but it is also important to mention that selling too much and not knowing how to manage orders and customers in the physical stores, as well as shipments and deals with suppliers and transport companies, can trigger a number of problems.

Meeting such a concentrated demand in just a few days usually causes a lot of tension in the organizational structure of a supply chain and even in each of the intra-logistic units of the participants of the supply they are chain part of.

To do so, it is important to develop a great sales and service strategy during this stage, according to data taken from last year, that is, from Black Friday 2019, almost 14.5% of the annual shipments made by the various companies dedicated to this activity (Couriers and logistics operators in general) were made in a single day or, in the best of cases, in a few days before the peak day arrives.

In the following graphs we can see, according to 2018 statistics, which are the countries with the highest sales flow these days in relation to the United States:

As well as we can appreciate what people are most interested in buying in this season of great discounts:

Poor management of orders and shipments can lead to a negative user experience. In this sense, having a good or bad Black Friday will certainly affect the online reputation of e-commerce. Among the most relevant challenges that I can highlight with the logistics of this day, and which are commonly faced by companies:

Problems of lack of coordination between departments:It is very possible that the planning of the marketing and commercial departments is very imprecise (not knowing how such a concentrated demand will evolve in time) and that this will inevitably change the planning of the logistics area.
Problems of understaffing or overstaffing: Planning the appropriate number of employees to attend to the logistics area is usually complex,
but without a doubt, when the positions to be filled require a certain qualification or previous preparation that, for obvious reasons of lack of time, has not been provided to the worker, this may generate an increase in errors in certain logistics activities (picking, preparation of dispatch, lack of documentation accompanying the goods, etc.) that are difficult to foresee.
Operational flexibility issues: It also adds to the fact that our fellow travelers in the supply chain where we operate will also not be able to predict how, when and where demand will increase or decrease in a timely manner, a scenario of relative paralysis could be encountered due to lack of control or information that the various operators receive at each step of the supply chain.
• Problems in transport and delivery companies: Again caused by the fact of an uncontrolled massification of demand and during a short period of time, we can find that the companies that usually work with us can find themselves orphaned by vehicles or drivers.

I share with you these two videos of successful cases of companies that manage very well, a lot of orders on this day and that have a lot of experience around Black Friday:

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