Ways to Optimize Your Warehouse Operations for the Holiday Season

by Michael Kotendzhi | Warehousing
Ways to Optimize Your Warehouse Operations for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is well on its way, and warehouses all around the globe are about to get busy. You'll have to get ready to handle more inventory, shipments, and returns. Of course, more inventory means more money on your account, but only if you can move it. To get there, you need to optimize your warehouse operations for the holiday season. Here's how to do it.

Take a Look at Your Layout

The first thing you want to do is review the layout of your areas. You'll have a lot more traffic and personnel on board over the next few weeks, so go over the stations and make sure you're ready for it.

Work with your teams to improve the organization and make sure you're using every square inch of your floor space in the best way. Move your bestsellers to the most convenient place, and don't be afraid to add another packing station if you need it.

Analyze how the products move through your facility and see if you can improve the flow. Are there some steps that seem unnecessary? If there are — skip them. You'll be moving extra-high volumes of product, and you'll need an effective and organized warehouse to do it.

Go Through Your Inventory

No one likes doing inventory, but it's a vital job at this time. With the shape of the logistics industry at the moment, you can't be sure that all your shipments will arrive as scheduled. On top of that, your employees and postal services can make errors, so some of your products will end up at the wrong address.

However, when you do the inventory, you'll know what you have on the shelves at the moment. Then, take a look at your historical data and try to estimate how much you'll need to handle this year. Chances are that it'll be more than the last, so add a bit to the number you come up with. It's just to make sure you have enough for all those last-minute shoppers. 

Stress-Test Your Warehouse

If what you just read sounds strange to you, don't worry — you're not the only one. However, the transport experts from say that they use many stress tests with their moving operations and that it's a great way to assess your readiness. Let's see what it's all about.

It works simply: you hold behind as many big orders as you can, and then you let them all at once and flood the system with volume. In essence, the idea is to simulate the conditions of peak season. If your system takes it well — good for you, and if it doesn't — you'll see what you need to improve to optimize your warehouse operations for the holiday season.

Do Your Maintenance

When your equipment works as it should, it's easy to forget to run it through regular checkups. However, the maintenance is the reason it's running, and therefore, you can't afford to ignore it. If you go down that path, you can bet it'll fail you at the worst moment imaginable.

We advise you not to risk even the slightest chance of downtime during this time of year. Get on with all those tasks you've been putting off, and get your equipment sorted out. It'll give you peace of mind, and even more importantly, your operations will run smoothly.

Hire Seasonal Workers Early

Unless you have a fully automated warehouse, you'll probably want to bring in a few extra sets of hands to help you around. It's only natural, but keep in mind that many other companies will think in the same way. The labor market is tight, so be sure to start hiring as early as possible. If you wait too long and end up late, you'll have to pay more to ensure you have enough staff.

Keep Your Warehouse Clean

All those extra workers and products mean more dirt and debris in your facility. You can't run away from things getting dirty, but you mustn't try to run away from cleaning. If you don't take care of it, not only will it lower your productivity, but it could also make your warehouse unsafe. 

Daily sweeping and scrubbing are a must, and so are the ad hoc cleaning procedures like mopping the spills. If someone can get hurt because of it, you want it sorted right away. It's much better to stay ahead of the problem than to deal with the consequences. 


As you can see, there are plenty of things you can do to optimize your warehouse operations for the holiday season. Do everything we talked about, don't skip any of the steps, and you'll be just fine. Remember, the more time and effort you put into it, the better it will turn out.

For over 30 years, 18 Wheels Logistics has strived to be the most customer-centric trucking, warehousing, and logistics company around. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 18 Wheels relies on experience and integrity to make customers happy and remain on the cutting edge of shipping and logistics management.

If you have any questions about this article or you would like to talk to us about your shipping needs, please call us at (604) 439-8938.

Michael Kotendzhi is President of Operations & Transportation and a partner at 18 Wheels. Michael has over 15 years of experience and is equipped with a degree in Logistics from the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business. As well as a background in logistics from XPO Logistics (formally Kelron Logistics), North America's largest contract warehousing provider.

Michael's experience includes supply chain management, reverse logistics, & domestic transportation. He has developed 18 Wheels' trucking solutions, effectively utilizing the sister company's vehicle fleet and building a transportation supply-chain network across North America.