Holiday peak season is right around the corner.

If your 3PL or fulfillment partner hasn't already approached you about optimizing your slotting strategy for the 2017 holiday season, you may find yourself dealing with delayed orders in a few short weeks. With many companies making a sizeable portion of their annual revenue from Black Friday to Christmas Eve, it's crucial to steer clear of avoidable mistakes during this three week period. Angry holiday shoppers don't soon forget delivery disasters.

What is slotting? More importantly, why is getting it right such a make or break issue during the peak holiday season?

Slotting is the process of determining where items are located within the fulfillment center for order picking purposes.  An optimized slotting strategy places high volume items in easily accessible, easily navigable locations to optimize a facility's cube space and reduce travel time for putaway, replenishment, and picking/packing. This increases order accuracy and efficiency, improves throughput, reduces cycle times and reduces labor costs.

Your fulfillment partners need to know in advance what items you plan on selling/pushing this holiday season. This means that meetings and communications about your upcoming holiday promotional calendar, sale items, etc. need to be happening NOW. Without this open dialogue, your operations team won't be able to plan accordingly, organize inventory efficiently, or optimize the best pick path for order fulfillment, meaning longer fulfillment times for your customers' orders.

When evaluating a new fulfillment partner, or when talking holiday strategy with your current fulfillment partner, you should be asking these questions:

  1. Will you help us with holiday peak slotting strategy?
  2. When will you have the slotting strategy discussion with us?
  3. What information should we bring to the slotting strategy meeting?
  4. What information will you provide us with during the slotting strategy meeting?
  5. Will you be building a custom solution to best serve my business?

For more holiday shopping season tips and strategies, download Dotcom's peak planning guide here.