PARCEL July/August 2022

Page 20

By Cassidy Hardy and Scott Bounds




eak season is fast approaching, and whether you have already created and are implementing your plan, or you are still seeking the final touches, there’s never a wrong time to review lessons learned from the past to create a future of peak season success. For a variety of reasons, peak seasons during the pandemic have eaten away at both peak season fulfillment plans and budgets for shippers of all sizes. And while GMT expects this year’s peak season won’t be quite as volatile as the recent past, it’s imperative that shippers not only prepare early and often for peak season, but also seek to continuously gain and apply lessons from their whole network to optimize for both peak season and the whole year. Today, proper peak season planning is a mix of data science, fiscal responsibility, 20  JULY-AUGUST 2022

and behavioral intelligence, but — to truly reap the rewards — it’s important to hone where these abilities are best applied. Here are six key practices we see our customers implementing right now to prepare for the upcoming peak season. Educate your executive team about expenses and factors out of your control, such as the global economy. This runs the gambit from peak season accessorial/ surcharges, residential surcharges, delivery area surcharges, inflated fuel, and even the war in Ukraine. The war has only heightened the cost of fuel, but it also slows down the larger global supply chain, which will impact your network in the US. Prepare for the items that you have visibility and (some) control over, such as accessorial/surcharges, but plan and communicate as much as

possible for costs associated with issues unseen, such as the global supply chain and its related economy. Setting clear expectations internally will go a long way toward creating more realistic budgets and reducing friction when a strategic pivot becomes necessary. You’re (hopefully) already partnering with regional carriers to diversify and ease capacity constraints but take additional steps to create flexibility within your network should plans go awry (as they’re apt to do). In peak seasons past, national carriers implemented extremely cost impactful peak fees, which, when coupled with capacity constraints and growing consumer demand, made regionals an even more attractive option for peak season and beyond. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that regional