Tag Archives: holiday season

3 Soft Skills You Should Have To Succeed

In our fast-paced and ever-changing world, career requirements and the job market are constantly changing. In the current time of uncertainty, these changes are more noticeable than ever. While many people struggle with the changes in their job, whether it’s remote work, job search, furlough, or career change, the best way to uplift your career is to adjust to the new market demand. While quarantine has probably shown to all of us the importance of having strong hard skills for operating remotely, employers have their focus on soft skills.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are considered your personal traits, features, and qualities that can be effectively used for individual and teamwork. Usually, the most common soft skills that applicants include in their resume are communication, time management, teamwork, etc. However, now the requirements for soft skills are far beyond just that. Here are some of the most relevant and valuable soft skills most employers are looking for.

Key soft skills to develop

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence encompasses almost everything in terms of human interactions. Basically, being emotionally intelligent means to recognize the patterns or specific characteristics of a person, and use this knowledge to cooperate more efficiently. In simple words, building a personal approach is a valuable skill, whether it’s your boss, colleague, or customer. With the understanding of people’s emotions or behavioral patterns, you will make a long way in your career. It is especially important if you work in managerial positions or deal with many people on a daily basis.

Flexibility and adaptability

The ability to navigate and balance between all the events that are happening right now, and most importantly, to change, is an unmatched skill in today’s job market. We are far away from days when doing the very same job for years was the norm. Now, the more adaptable and flexible you are, the more chances you have to stay relevant in the job market. Being cross-disciplinary and having a combination of skills from different fields lets you not just vertically climb the career ladder, but freely move horizontally and even diagonally. It’s also about mental flexibility. It is hard for experienced professionals to accept the fact they still have something to learn. The fact is, you always have something new to learn.

Crisis management

Since work now has become very decentralized, managers are giving more freedom in terms of decision making to employees. It is important for companies to know that you will be capable of dealing with a complex and random issue on your own. Having responsibility and the ability to handle problems quickly and efficiently is a sign of a mature, professional, and reliable employee.

A Look into the Holiday Shipping Season

The holiday season remains one of the busiest times for retailers, and each year, the volume of shipments continues to grow. E-commerce continues to make advancements for supply chain needs and service requirements, making it harder to compete with big companies like Amazon. This year, e-commerce sales are estimated to obtain 52 percent of total orders made during the season.

Here are some key trends to look for this year during the holiday season:

Optimizing mobile applications

Almost all consumers have smart phones with access to mobile applications. It is essential to provide your customer with a convenient way to use your mobile application so that they can easily carry out their supply chain function or make purchases online. As more people are shopping on their mobile device, your mobile version should be as polished as the website. If customers can make purchases through your app, make sure that the checkout process runs smoothly and that the site will handle technical obstacles during the peak days of sellouts.

Offer free shipping

Many retailers are offering free shipping to customers during the holiday season to produce more sales and customer loyalty. When shopping for the holidays, many customers are more likely to shop at places that offer free shipping deals instead of companies that do not. The companies that are offering free shipping should prepare for the holiday season in advance and have all of their shipments in before the big shopping days arrive to ensure they have enough product for the volume of orders they will be receiving.

Focus on supply chain efficiency

Handling the stress of the holiday season can be challenging. Businesses need to control and monitoring their supply chain at every stage of operations to make sure all the processes run smoothly. Reviewing warehouses, reading over contracts with 3PL providers or fleet owners can help companies run a successful, organized supply chain during the busiest season.

Extensive sales period

Extending the sales period is a popular and efficient way to take the pressure off of the company and logistics providers, as the general volume of orders is pushed back and given more time. In addition, elongated selling time means more purchases. According to statistics and experts forecast, the period between Thanksgiving and the end of Cyber Monday week represents 37 percent of the total U.S. holiday retail sales.

Every year, the preparation process for the holiday shipping season becomes more complex. New technology and solutions are constantly being developed to help companies overcome the peak season. A proper analysis, research, and preparation in advance will do a lot in reaching aspired goals.

What are the 4 Seasons of Transportation?

Every year in freight shipping is different. However, a bad year or good year – there is always a certain pattern. According to this pattern, we forecast and plan for the whole year. That’s why each year in freight shipping is divided into the 4 seasons of transportation. 

What are the 4 seasons of freight transportation?

4 seasons of transportation

It’s not a revelation that the transportation industry is heavily dependent on supply and demand. These two factors determine the capacity and the rates, or in brief – market conditions. Companies are now operating in a tight market due to a number of various industry reasons.

Regardless of that, shippers are still likely to see the typical seasonal shifts in supply and demand. This is something you acknowledge and understand after your first year in the transportation industry. The freight volume is not stable during the year, and if a certain rate worked in February for a dry van – it most likely will not in May. Also, the intensity of seasonal shifts depends on the general market situation and the region you are looking at.

Transportation professionals usually define 4 seasons in logistics:

The Quiet Season (January – March)

During this time, freight volume is down. The holiday season is over, and we are rolling into a new year. The weather is not shipping-friendly with low temperatures and snowed-in highways. The transportation industry is recovering from the hectic holiday shipping and slowly getting back on its feet. The freight volume is slowly picking up during the quiet season, usually showing an increase in March as we are getting closer to spring months.

The Produce Shipping Season (April – July)

Spring rolls around and the produce season is upon us. Freight volume is picking up after a few almost dormant months. Carriers have more loads to choose from and can allow themselves to be pickier. Therefore, the market tightens up, and shippers realize that finding a truck has become more challenging and the rates are going up. In certain regions, the capacity and rates change drastically for non-produce shippers, as carriers are massively switching to high-paying produce loads, for example, peaches in Florida, leaving other shippers desperate to move their freight. During this time, it’s crucial to research your regions of interest to understand how much you may be affected by produce.

The Peak Shipping Season (August – October)

Another busy season in the transportation industry. Overwhelming produce season is coming to an end, but the party goes on. Now it’s the time to prepare for the “back to school” and start planning out the upcoming holiday season. Sales are typically up and companies are actively shipping the product in and out of their facilities to ensure they are all set for the holidays. The rates are still on the rise and the freight volume is at its peak.

The Holiday Shipping Season (November – December)

Holidays are upon us – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s. Shippers are rushing to complete their last orders and get everything in or out before holiday closures. The year is coming to an end as well, and no one wants to leave freight behind and drag it into the new year. Of course, it’s the time for vacation and being with family, but a few days before everyone leaves for long weekends are usually busier than ever as shippers try to ship out everything that popped up last minute, got delayed or overlooked.

This is a classic picture of a calendar year in the transportation industry, or the four seasons of freight transportation if you wish. Being aware of this pattern is a must for any transportation professional and helps forecast and stay on top of the market changes.

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It’s the Holiday Season Again, Time for Shipping Delays

Still searching online last-minute holiday gifts? Well, you are one of the millions this holiday season to use an e-commerce site to do their shopping. Whether you ordered something for your home, business, or a loved one, expect to see some delays in delivery.

iStock-118288507-1.jpgIt happens every year, all the last-minute items needing to be shipped cause delays for all those involved in the shipping cycle. Everyone has been working hard to process the higher than predicted number of shipments so they can arrive at their destinations in time.

UPS is facing an unusually high volume of daily packages this year according to several news sources. Even throughout their busy schedule, they still intend to successfully deliver all the packages on time… all 750 million of them. FedEx is also in the same boat as UPS with a high volume of packages. DHL is planning to hire an estimated 6,000 employees to assist with their December operations across North America.

The delays are being blamed on the improper use of technology and an unstable retail environment. But the limited air space and truck space create strict movement. “During the holidays, there simply isn’t enough capacity,” according to Sam Cinquegrani, Founder and CEO of ObjectWave. The capacity was already at a high, but the demand from the holidays creates further restrictions.

To combat the delays and spread out capacity, companies like FedEx and UPS have been working directly with retailers nationwide to prevent a high amount of shipments on peak days. Together, they increase the prices of shipping rates for those peak days and offer a cheaper alternative for slower shipping.

If we are to help with delays in the future, the use of the Amazon drone would be beneficial in taking some of the stress away from carriers and shippers, but there are also the consumer options such as Amazon Locker. Using options that allow the consumer to reach their goods using their own mobility are low cost compared to the implementation of drones (which the technology is not quite there yet) and they can easily be incorporated into day-to-day operations.

At PLS, we have the benefit of being able to link numerous carriers in order to successfully move shipments. Look for our help if you find yourself in a bind to move a load this holiday season, or any season for that matter!

4 Tips to Prepare for the Holiday Season

As we are getting closer to the holiday season, we start to feel the pressure of the upcoming volume spikes and tight deadlines. This time of the year might be the busiest for the transportation industry in general, and definitely the craziest time for most retailers.

Companies must adapt to the demanding market and put, even more, effort into smooth supply chain operations in order to provide great customer experience and stay profitable. Holiday logistics will be stressful and overwhelming, but here are a few tips to help you get through this busy time and master holiday shipping.

iStock-118288507.jpgLearn from your experience

Take the time to sit down and analyze the previous year’s holiday shipping.  What did you do well? What went wrong? Could you avoid any issues? Come up with the key points to take into consideration this year to avoid repeating last year’s mistakes.

Move your deadlines forward

Don’t plan for the ‘best-case scenario’ – it will not happen. Odds are, you will end up operating in the ‘worse-than-you-could’ve-imagined’ one. Plan for it! Set your deadlines a day or too earlier and do your best to meet them. Should holiday chaos win and you miss your deadline – it will not be the end of the world and your customers will still be happy.

Be proactive

The holiday season will not be just another typical day in the office. Circumstances will change, the volume will be overwhelming and all kinds of issues and delays will stress you out. There is no avoiding it, to be honest. This is something we need to accept and make the best out of it. Be proactive – communicate with all parties involved in the shipping process, stay on top of what is going on. This will help you avoid quite a few last-minute disasters.

Get support!

The holiday season is a good time to partner up with a 3PL. This will give you access to their extensive carrier base and help you to secure trucks for your last-minute orders. 3PL representative also has extensive experience when it comes to managing high-volume projects in a fast-paced environment.

Looking for some assistance with your holiday shipping? Contact us!

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4 Tips for Holiday Shipping Season

Who doesn’t love the holidays? Family, friends, and food- what more could you ask for?

However, if your job is logistics-related, it might be a bit more complicated than that. Your excitement and holiday anticipation (if not the holiday itself!) may be heavily affected by the stress and pressure of trying to keep everything under control. Unforeseen delays and disruptions are inevitable, but we can do our best to be ready for the holiday shipping and minimize the potential risks.

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to planning and managing your supply chain around holidays:

Failing to plan is planning to fail

Trying to manage your supply chain successfully around holidays without extensive planning is asking for a disaster. Don’t focus on the shipping part only – think bigger. Make sure that you set production and order deadlines to have the product ready to go and allowing yourself some lead time.

Make sure to keep an eye on your own deadlines and anticipate potential delays – most transportation providers will be closed for the holiday or run limited operations, which might jeopardize on-time pick-up or increase the estimated transit time and delay delivery.

iStock-584772686.jpgCapacity will be tighter

Finding a truck around this time might be harder than usual. The shorter the lead time – the tighter the capacity, which is always the case, but even more so when a holiday is involved. All the last-minute orders, which must be delivered before the facilities shut down, will increase the shipping need, and demand more capacity.

The drivers will be pickier with the destination trying to get home for a holiday. Most of them will try to plan and book their homebound holiday runs in advance to make sure they don’t end up with a load which takes them anywhere but home.

Expect price hikes

Obviously, capacity is directly correlating with the rates. The best way to try and keep the cost under control is to give yourself decent lead time. Plan in advance, be ready for the potential issues – be ahead of others and book the trucks before anyone has even started to plan what should be shipped before the holiday.

Give yourself an opportunity to have options – waiting until the last day and trying to push all the orders out will be costly. You might have to pay more even if you started planning your holiday loads earlier – usually, for not so desirable lanes. However, more lead time allows more time to find that one driver, who wants to go exactly in that direction, and raises your chances.

Track & trace, check & double-check

Pre-planning and getting everything out is just half the battle – holidays may affect transit and delivery as well. Whether it’s less-than-truckload and full loads, make sure to be on the same page with the carriers. Most companies will run limited or no operations on a holiday.

It’s important to communicate the estimated delivery times. Some carriers are working and might be willing to deliver during a holiday. The lack of communication will result in the load showing up at the consignee’s closed door. The best way to stay on top is to have proper visibility of all the operations.

Holidays can be chaotic – the best way to minimize the stress is to plan ahead, communicate and know the potential risks.


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