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A Christmas like no other will be celebrated around the world in 2020. Just as the Corona virus is affecting all areas of life, the quarter that is traditionally the strongest for retail is also facing special conditions. Those who have the necessary control in supply chain management thanks to digital processes in the peak season through an optimum of transparency, can score very well with their customers.

„Black Friday: 3 tips on how online retailers can prepare for the rush. … Now begins the strongest sales time of the year for online retailers.” The headline of a well-known German-language Internet portal for e-commerce at the end of November was just one of many.

The aforementioned Black Friday, Singles Day, Cyber Monday, which in some cases was extended to Cyber Week, and the equally well-known Prime Day, are just the most prominent occasions that put pressure on retailers and the logistics providers working for them. All of this is then usually topped up by the annual pre-Christmas flood of parcels.

On the consumer side, the issue of a logistical crunch time plays an even greater role than in previous peak seasons in a year in which logistics has already proven its systemic relevance before the eyes of the global public and the recommended restrictions on contacts are shifting more business online.

For a long time, the 4th quarter, with Christmas celebrated almost all over the globe, has been considered the peak season in the intercontinental exchange of goods. Due to lockdown phases in the spring, catch-up effects in the summer and the distortions occurring in the 2nd pandemic wave, logistics providers have to make flexible adjustments to traditional processes in order to guarantee the usual quality of service – not only for its retail clients but even more for the private end customer. Of course, this also applies to the new requirements arising from a growing online trade.

Logistics as a competitive advantage – and digitization as a lever action

The above-mentioned text from Germany’s „e-commerce Magazin” also names, not without reason, the first of the three tips for companies doing business on the Internet: „Put the existing logistics processes to the test.” An important tip, which is of course also of elementary importance for stationary wholesale and retail trade as well as the manufacturing industry.

Smart supply chain management can help companies enormously to set themselves apart from the competition. One example is on time deliveries to end customers during the Christmas season, which in turn are of enormous importance to grandparents and parents in view of the gift lists of grandchildren and children.

Reliability in this field means a significant boost to loyalty into a brand that successfully delivers. Conversely, distribution problems, especially in this emotion driven phase of the year, are a serious blow to trust on the customer side, which could later translate into lost sales. But even in the run-up to the production of goods, significant losses and thus financial damage are a possible threat if delays occur in the delivery of raw materials and semi-finished materials to the plants or transports get stuck.

Digitization of the supply chain, with particular attention to the aspect of transparency, unfolds an effective leverage effect for saving resources and ultimately money. If you know where the trucks, ships, planes and trains carrying the goods are, you can make the right decisions for the transfer phases between the individual modes of transport or for the processes following delivery.

Supply chain harmonization

Digital thought leaders like Synfioo are trying to harmonize supply chains in 2020, and especially in its hectic final quarter, with their real-time shipment monitoring products and accurate ETA predictions. With up-to-date and accurate information on transportation flows, all stakeholders will be able to develop sensible alternatives for the next steps of a given order.

The year that is drawing to a close has brought fundamental changes that have etched themselves deeply into people’s collective memory. So it would be all the nicer if an efficiently operating logistics industry that makes use of digital tools for optimized supply chain management could ensure a festive season with a little normality and a lot of joy during the holidays.


Photo credit @ Pxfuel

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