By Natalie Wainwright, Group Operations Director, diamondlogistics.
After a challenging and unprecedented year, it’s been no surprise that Black Friday wasn’t as we expected.
Initially we predicted consumers would hold onto their cash until later in the year, and that we’d see an increase in sales for Black Friday which would continue into the Christmas peak period. Because of lockdown, because people have been furloughed, and because of Black Friday month-long deals combined with earlier Christmas campaigns, we peaked earlier than expected. (This article details some of the reasons shoppers bolted early).
Scenario planning (we had three basic plans) proved useful once more.
For our team at diamondlogistics, it meant bringing the Black Friday plan forward by eight weeks.
Our four-week plan became an eight-week plan. With agile Network Partners and an IT system which we designed ourselves, despatchlab, we were able to mobilise literally overnight. Our clients didn’t notice a change of direction or tactic, or experience a negative impact . It’s just been business as usual.
FULFILMENT CENTRE SAFETY
But there was some disruption this year. Clients were unable to enter the warehouse to touch and feel their products due to COVID-19 safety protocol. This year we had to be their eyes, ears and hands.
One beverage client, which creates Christmas gift sets, faced some unusual circumstances. We had agreed their team would lead the diamond team in curating each set ahead of Black Friday. This couldn’t go ahead as they were not allowed to enter the warehouse, therefore unable to check whether the packaging they ordered would meet their design objectives.
The diamondlogistics’ team took charge of the bespoke stock and bespoke packaging – which actually turned-up with a critical tie missing – and successfully created the gift sets.
We did this for a number of our clients who found themselves in similar positions. One challenge for us was access to agency workers to manage this peak in packaging activity. But it all worked out. This really highlights the importance of client access to stock.
Some clients aren’t fluent in forward planning orders for Black Friday. But we know the patterns, and because of the human and system analytics we have behind processes, we predicted volume for them.
We were able to control freight too because we operate a multi-carrier solution. If a carrier is facing an increase in volume, which they can’t cope with, we switch it to another carrier. Last week one of our carriers experienced a system error. Their IT and our IT stopped talking. But it didn’t disrupt the service because we simply switched the freight to a different Carrier Partner through our multi-carrier solution.
Looking back at ‘Black Friday’ 2020, I’m pleased we managed to operate our ‘business as usual’ despite safety challenges. We kept our staff and partners safe, ensured our client’s products were delivered and now have another new set of successful back-up procedures in place for the ever-changing landscape of 2021. diamond logistics 1. Black Friday surprises nil.
Black Friday – although less testing now than when it first landed – provides an opportunity to examine our technology, infrastructure and spirit. Our connection to our network partners is critical, and even more important as we move towards a delivery-only culture in the New Year. Access to our award nominated platform despatchlab, which co-ordinates fulfilment, express and same day on one platform, means our Carrier Partners can succeed as critical key workers in 2021 and beyond. Together, as plans change and COVID-19 safety rules shift, we’re confident that 2021 is another test we’ll pass.
JOIN DIAMOND LOGISTICS
diamondlogistics is inviting UK Carriers to join its multi-carrier network from January 2021. If you’d like to expand your business and increase turnover with continuous support from diamond logistics HQ, click here to get in touch.