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Black Friday logistics

Black Friday, the most awaited event of the year by many. With lots of products being heavily discounted by many online (and offline) shops, Black Friday 2019 is expected to be the largest and most successful Black Friday ever.

Black Friday falls on 29th November this year. The event began as a US tradition, and therefore always falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving, which is always the last Thursday in November. Many retailers actually slash their prices from the middle of November in an attempt to keep ahead of competitors. So, keep an eye out for bargains throughout the month.

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How will it work?

As consumers shopping habits shift and many choose to do their shopping online rather than in-store, the UK is expected to handle over a quarter of billion parcels over Black Friday and Christmas. Online retailers such as Amazon, Asos and Argos often cite Black Friday as one of their busiest sales days. This should come as no surprise, as Brits are expected to spend over 1.5 billion pounds online during the big day.

Well, have you ever thought about the extra work that couriers have to put it every year during Black Friday? With millions of orders placed in a single day, how is it possible for your package to arrive at your doorstep so quickly?

With thousands of pounds invested by courier companies for this event, you can expect to see the same level of speed and professionalism that you’re used to. Clients should receive their packages almost as fast as in any other period of the year.

Retailers and couriers are set to work day and night to ensure all orders are delivered on time. It takes a minimum of 6 people to ensure a Black Friday package is delivered the next day.

Next-day delivery during Black Friday, how is that even possible?

It is possible, and here is how it will work with most courier companies:

  • Once the products have arrived at the retailer’s warehouse, they’re attached with product serial numbers. Shortly after, they are registered as ‘in stock’ on the retailer’s website. When you place an order online, this is sent to the retailer’s system, so a warehouse picker can collect it from the shelf.
  • Orders are prioritised based on your delivery option. So, if you’ve paid for next-day delivery, your order jumps to the front of the queue.
  • This item is then sent to an internal distribution team that organises the orders by regional destination. Your item is loaded into a large truck, which carries it to a courier’s depot or warehouse.
  • The pickers at the courier are then responsible for separating the parcels to be sent to the localised depots. Once your order has arrived here, it’s collected by a driver who will cover a dedicated local area. One of which will include your home address.

It’s basically the same process as always, but in order to cope with the extra thousands (or millions) of orders, more people had to be hired by courier companies. These include extra drivers, extra trucks, couriers and warehouse staff. So what exactly do couriers and retailers do in order to cope with the extra orders?

Increased planning

The level of management and planning that goes into logistics on any average day is copious. However, for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, planning reaches new heights. Companies are required to not only arrange transportation for many different clients, but must ensure that backup plans – and backup vehicles – are in place if a link in the supply chain suffer from delays or problems.

Any issues that arise have the potential to affect the entire supply chain, disrupting all the orders behind the delay.

More staff

Logistics companies need to increase the size of their workforce to help manage the increased demand. However, hiring staff adds strain over this period, as new workers must be trained to do their job safely and efficiently. This obviously takes a lot of planning and organisation, so plan ahead.

Furthermore, effectively deploying workers to deal with the demands of this period goes beyond the number of employees – rotas must be organised and implemented effectively.

More vehicles

Here are some stats for last year’s Black Friday event. See for yourself how many extra vehicles had to be purchased by couriers, just for this event:

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Conclusion

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying the unstoppable force of Black Friday. What started off as a tradition in the US has now become the most awaited event of every bargain-hunter even here in the UK.

Black Friday is, without doubt, the busiest day of the year for couriers, delivery drivers and retailers across the world. They are responsible for ensuring orders and deliveries run smoothly and that your goods get delivered as soon as possible.