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The key challenge with your peak season design phase is to effectively evaluate real-time: can it be implemented in the remaining timeframe? Part 3 of 4

Whether your warehouse and fulfillment design plans amount to a tweak or a complete overhaul, time is a critical factor. Substantial changes in space allocation, equipment acquisition, or personnel reassignments can’t be left to the last minute. And you can’t afford the expense and hassle that can occur when design issues impede ongoing fulfillment operations.

It’s important to “keep the lights on” while preparing for the upcoming peak season. During this phase, it’s important to plan for a smooth implementation and operational transition while the design process is underway. If there are efforts requiring external acquisition of material handling equipment (MHE), controls, systems or labor, the team needs to work quickly get to a short list of potential providers, highlighting the most time-conscious and cost-effective options. 

Sometimes the providers are a ‘given’; that is, they are incumbent “partners” with resident technology. In such cases the team guides the design discussions so that they can quickly develop a working budget and metrics for progress and completion. Perhaps most importantly, a PMO process begins and helps turn objectives into effective program execution. The team works with senior management to assess options on the basis of cost, benefits, and degree of difficulty to implement, to help select the options that work best for your situation.

Being cognizant of a fixed and usually aggressive time line, the design for next peak has to be effective and focused. In today’s environment when MHE is included in the enabling goals, manufacturing lead times can drive (or limit) the ultimate deliverable solution. The team sometimes makes “do we make it or buy it” decisions, and then works with the purchasing team to ensure that acquisitions of equipment or software are made judiciously and with the input of key stakeholders.

There are tools available to help control the impact of purchasing choices by clearly defining budget parameters, modeling and estimating supplier capabilities and costs, as well as highlighting opportunities for both increased efficiency and cost-savings. The team should look at your supply chain as an end-to-end entity—from sourcing, manufacturing, and warehousing to distribution and fulfillment to customers—so the solutions proposed do not favor one element of your overall operations at the expense of another. 

Choose a project team with a combination of experience, usage of science/data, industry research, business savvy, and practical common sense—so that your peak season plan is realistic.

There is much to consider. Let us help you figure out how to make your next peak season better than ever. Drop us an email at robert.ouellette@Crimsonandco.com

To read about preparing for Peak Season 2019 from the beginning of our four-part series, visit You just attended your internal 2019 ops planning meeting…so what’s next?

For the second post in this series of preparing for Peak Season 2019, visit So, your 2019 peak operational capabilities assessment is done. Now what?

Here is a link to the final and fourth post in our Peak Season series… about real-time implementation.


Published in March 2019

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