One of the UK’s leading materials handling equipment providers has advised that warehouses, retailers and manufacturers across the country start prepping now for the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping weekend.

Midland Pallet Trucks, who supply some of the country’s busiest enterprises with hand pallet trucksmanual stacker trucks, and lift platforms, is urging the industry to take action and start preparing now to ensure they’re ready for the peak shopping period.

Last year, many warehouses chose to take on new, temporary employees in a desperate bid to fulfil an unprecedented amount of orders during a record-breaking holiday sales period but, some businesses have announced that they plan to scale back their Black Friday efforts this year. Acting now means being able to take full advantage of a day when customers are ready and willing to buy. Insights firm PwC suggests that 1 in 6 people plan to place an order on Black Friday 2019. This year, says the Midland Pallet Trucks team, warehouses should focus on advance preparation to avoid being caught out, ensuring they have the right equipment to manage order volume.

“While creating more jobs is excellent for the economy, what we hope to show the warehousing industry this year is that a combined approach that blends additional human resources with powerful materials handling tools could be a more cost effective option,” says Midland Pallet Trucks managing director, Phil Chesworth. “Last year, we saw warehouses substantially increasing their headcount as early as September due to the necessary safety training required, which really left some feeling financial strain.

“This year, our mission is to help warehouses to minimise their costs throughout the peak sales period by demonstrating just how much of an impact equipment can have on overall efficiency. Even a small shortfall in equipment, or the use of unsuitable equipment, can significantly affect how well businesses are able to satisfy their customers’ needs at this very busy time of year.” 

Preparation and planning for major shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday rely heavily upon the analysis of past customer behaviour to ensure the right resources are in place to meet demand. However, with order quantities increasing rapidly — Amazon reported 86 orders per second on Black Friday last year — and with brands moving their delivery cutoffs closer and closer to Christmas in response to customer demand, buying behaviours are becoming more challenging to predict. At this time of uncertainty, warehouses must be able to scale up and down instantly to ensure optimal fulfilment capacity. The right equipment is key to achieving this.

With US Thanksgiving falling on Thursday 28 November this year, Black Friday will take place on Friday 29 November, and Cyber Monday on Monday 2 December 2019.