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Planning for 2020 Holiday Supply Chain Featured

Planning for 2020 Holiday Supply Chain "Pretty fairy lights bokeh wallpaper."

Holiday planning is underway as many businesses grapple with supply chain logistics due to the Covid-19. Experts predict that a majority of purchases will be made online as opposed to in stores – leading retail stores to rethink how they hire seasonal employees and stock their shelves.

Forbes warn that retail stores like Walmart and Target have to rethink their hiring process. The article written by Steven Kramer, a Forbes Councils Member explains, “If stores bet against in-store shopping, they will be massively understaffed if stores are allowed to stay open. But if retailers hire for a normal holiday season that includes in-store shopping, they risk being overstaffed and overspending on hiring and onboarding.”

Retail stores are taking a different approach to hiring this year. Target is set to hire 130,000 seasonal employees. While in line with the amount of employees they hired for the 2019 holiday season – many of the seasonal employees will focus on online orders. This means more employees will be staffed at distribution centers and those who are staffed at brick and mortar stores will focus on curb-side pickup and pick-up orders from online sales.

“We continue to see the guests gravitate towards the ease and convenience and contact-free ways to shop through our digital channels,” explains Target CEO Brian Cornell.  Because of this Cornell suggests there will not be as much emphasis on Black Friday store sales. “We’re not expecting long lines on Black Friday morning.” That being said – Target does expect a rise in holiday sales due to early forecasts.  “We expect guests to start shopping earlier and shop throughout the season.”

Like Target, Walmart is also looking to fill seasonal roles in distribution centers and instore pick up orders. They are looking to hire 20,000 seasonal workers on top of the already 500,000 workers they’ve hired this year.

That’s not the only thing that Walmart is changing. Walmart recently announced Black Friday will look a bit different this year. Instead of rolling out sales for Black Friday – customers should expect these sales earlier in the season. "We've heard from our customers that many plan on starting their holiday shopping well before Black Friday and that they're looking for gifts that fit their current lifestyle,” notes Walmart U.S. Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer Scott McCall in a statement.

Retail companies also have to factor in delivery delays. With an increase in shipments – delivery delays are bound to occur. But like the retail giants – FedEx and UPS are also hiring more seasonal workers than last year to keep up with demand. “We’re preparing for a record peak holiday season,” Chief Human Resources Officer Charlene Thomas said in a statement. She adds, “The COVID-19 pandemic has made our services more important than ever.” UPS expects to hire more than 100,000 seasonal workers. FedEx is set to employ 75,000 workers for the holidays while USPS hopes to add 1,000 workers to their payroll.

This holiday season may be a bit different this year – but it’s far from being cancelled. Retail companies and delivery companies are planning ahead to make sure consumers don’t get met with empty shelves and delayed delivery times.

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 Danielle Loughnane

Danielle Loughnane earned her B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College and has currently been working in the data science field since 2015. She is the author of a comic book entitled, “The Superhighs” and wrote a blog from 2011-2015 about working in the restaurant industry called, "Sir I Think You've Had Too Much.” In her spare time she likes reading graphic novels and snuggling with her dogs.