Who’s Ready for Christmas?

View From The Ridge: 86

December 16, 2016

john moffitt

John Moffitt

Vice President, Business Strategy

Yesterday was supposedly the last day to ship things to receive before Christmas. Christmas is on a Sunday this year, so we actually have an extra day of receiving on Saturday. I still have a couple of gifts I need to ship today. Hopefully they will arrive in time, but maybe not. I really should have planned better, or at least looked at the impact a Sunday holiday would have on my plans. This same type of forward-looking activity will serve you well as you plan your events, promotions, closings, etc. Perhaps you have suppliers that shut down between Christmas and the new year. If this is not anticipated, there’s a chance that future orders will be late.


I can remember when I was working for a retailer; January was the month we promoted storage products. The promotions started immediately after the new year. Most of the product was imported, and we had to have the product ready to ship to stores in the last two weeks of December. We couldn’t send it too early, because the stores had no place to put it. We had to give stores enough time to receive the product and display it properly during the last week of December in order to prepare for the start of the January promo. Because of the increased quantities, the lead time was longer than usual. Most of the product had to be ordered by Labor Day. Had we been using a demand planning software, such as Supply Chain Planning (SCP), we would have entered this event sometime during the summer, to provide enough time for the system to properly recommend the order quantities.

When planning events, start with the end in mind and consider the following:

  • When do you want the product in position for sale?
  • Work back to when the goods must be received in order to make this happen.
  • Think about lead time for these orders and be sure your event setup is done early enough to allow for these circumstances.
  • Don’t lose sight of any issues with your suppliers’ ship days, holidays, or other obstacles that might interrupt the smooth flow of goods.

Most supply and demand planning systems can execute the math required with a fair degree of accuracy, but they are only going to execute against the information you provide. Most of the success derived from event planning is a direct result of the planning portion prior to the event. I talked to a company earlier this week that stated their biggest issue with being in stock on promotions was that the merchants did not inform them of an upcoming promotion early enough for the goods to get ordered and received. A system may not be able to help solve this problem – but a better plan will. Have a promo calendar that outlines when certain actions are needed for promotion or event execution. The solution may not always be in the technology.

By the way, my wife just told me she mailed the packages for me to ensure they are received in time for Christmas. Another great solution is to have a great partner who has your back!

I hope everyone has a great holiday season and I will see you after the new year.