With the holidays just around the corner, consumers are demanding more than ever out of e-commerce. Pristine holiday packaging, unique gift sets, and faster shipping all put pressure on brands to continually improve.
Predicted by Adobe Analytics, online holiday sales between November and December are expected to rise 4.8% from last year, especially due to the ease of “buy now, pay later” and easy return policies. With this increase, expectations on product and packaging quality are also growing.
While companies need to keep up with their production and ensure smooth operations, it is also crucial that they also hold themselves to better sustainable practices. During distribution, products need to be packaged correctly in order to avoid damage which leads to waste.
Ensuring Top Product Quality
So, how do you ensure that your teams are well prepared for the holiday rush, or for any spike in orders for that matter? The simple answer is by utilizing smart supply chain management.
This can look different for every business, so here are some tactical best practices to keep in mind.
- Open communication across your supply chain.
This means having an integrated system between your internal teams, suppliers, distribution centers, vendors, etc. If your team is not on the same page when it comes to product information, it is very difficult to make products right the first time, and every time after.
- The spec is either right, or it's wrong.
When creating new products and packaging for holiday special editions, it’s crucial to have all the correct specification data tracked in real time, shared effectively, and stored in a single-source-of-truth. Whether it’s new artwork or a completely new product, seasonal items need to be handled with as much care and accuracy as best selling products are all year long.
- Visibility to manufacturing and production stages.
Visibility into the stages of production are also of utmost importance due to the seasonality of the items. Items are expected to be in stores around November, so there isn’t much wiggle room for delays. Also, product components need to be produced correctly at each step of the supply chain to avoid “allowable waste” and quality issues due to poor specification management.
- Think ahead, managing your data helps with your predictions.
While this point seems simple, looking at past year’s data helps you make data-informed decisions about how much product to produce and what deadlines need to be achieved. What ingredients were used in the most products? What packaging trends are on the horizon – and do they match anything that has been done in the past? Looking back can help you plan forward.
- Diversify your supplier ecosystem.
By diversifying your supplier ecosystem, you can give yourself more buffer room if unexpected supply chain disruptions occur. Maintaining positive relationships with several suppliers can decrease chances of having detrimental mishaps, and lead to cost optimizations that improve your bottom line.
How do we achieve these goals with Specright?
First off, it is crucial to get your data in order. With programs such as Spec Assist and Spec Squad, customers can reap all the benefits of having their data implemented into Specright with minimal internal resource allocation to hit the ground running quickly, which is especially crucial during the busy holiday season.
Once a customer's data is centralized and digitized, Specright manages it seamlessly. The New Product Development (NPD) and product lifecycle management module is especially useful. Building a new product in Specright is easier than ever, as a product’s granular level of data can be clearly searchable, displayed, and tracked.
Specright can also help diversify your supplier ecosystem with Specright Network. Specright Network drives collaboration through end-to-end traceability of the supply chain for all partners in the process. Brands and suppliers can give instant access to the data their partners need, eliminating cumbersome email threads. It also can connect customers with new supply chain partners, expanding their supply chain ecosystem.
After a product is created and the specs are verified, customers can utilize Specright’s partnership with ISTA to ensure packaging quality. ISTA’s PackSight facilitates e-commerce specific test protocols, such as ISTA 6-Amazon.com. PackSight lets packaging professionals select the right test paths for them, collect data, and create reports online.
Looking Ahead to 2024… and Beyond
How is your company managing this holiday season? At Specright, we firmly believe that we can equip businesses with the tools they need in order to be ready for anything that comes their way, during the holiday season, and all year round.
If you’re interested in utilizing any of the features we’ve highlighted here, feel free to reach out to our team and request a demo!