The Christmas rush in numbers
Originating in the USA and taking place after Thanksgiving, Black Friday is the biggest shopping day globally, while Cyber Monday holds that title for e-commerce sales. Both days place incredible pressure on logistics operations due to a huge spike in demand. Businesses that can’t scale up operations fast enough fail to deliver and disappoint customers, but those that can keep pace reap the rewards of the most profitable time of the year.
Illustrating this, in the UK, sales during Black Friday 2022 reached around £12.3 billion – an 8.3% increase from the previous year.(1) The USA saw a 2.3% rise in online sales over the same period, totalling $9.12 billion (excluding in-person purchases). (2) More growth is predicted for 2023. Three-quarters of UK consumers in a survey said they’d make a larger amount of gift purchases on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year than compared to 2022. (3)
Scaling up this season
Efficiently scaling up a logistics operation within existing space constraints is challenging anyway, but current market conditions further complicate things. It’s no secret that logistics is experiencing a labour shortage, as a lack of enthusiasm among younger generations, early retirements, talent drain during the pandemic and traditionally poor working conditions have hit recruitment hard. However, even if the personnel were available, expecting manual labour to cover the peak demand of Black Friday and Cyber Monday isn’t feasible or sustainable.
As is often the case in warehouse logistics, automation has the answer. Highly scalable, efficient and flexible solutions, such as robotics, computer vision, analytics software and autonomous sorting, enable businesses to expand infrastructure to meet peak demand. All can improve efficiency within the existing site footprint, allowing warehouses to maximise available capacity.
Furthermore, automation can protect warehouse staff from burnout, carrying out the laborious or repetitive tasks so that workers can focus on managing and supervising the process. Consequently, automation can secure profitability by temporarily increasing throughput, but in a sustainable way that safeguards employees.
Robots in Santa’s workshop
Prime Vision robots are a great example – a scalable solution ideal for moving items to different areas during the sorting process. Unlike static conveyors, the fleet can be quickly expanded to accommodate increased demand, injecting flexibility into any logistics process. Furthermore, they take the strain out of sorting, so higher volumes of items can be moved without subjecting staff to tiring manual labour. Robots can work safely in confined areas too, maximising space efficiency.
However, even with the most scalable and efficient automated warehouse operation, reducing equipment downtime is imperative. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, any unforeseen breakdowns can mean bigger losses and a larger number of unsatisfied customers. In the festive spirit of bringing people together, Prime Vision provides close support to its customers to help reduce any risks of downtime.
Getting uptime for Christmas
Prime Vision’s Protection & Care service carries out 12,000 assurance checks on hardware and software operated by its customers every few minutes. The watchlist covers 2,000 servers globally – assessing memory usage, CPU strain and even server room temperature. The goal is to proactively identify and resolve issues before they occur and cause downtime.
The system has greatly reduced support tickets and stopped a quarter of all potential incidents before they have affected operations. Moreover, the service is still developing. Prime Vision recently upgraded to a next generation monitoring package for modern virtual spaces and is laying the groundwork for providing preventative maintenance by 2025. This monitoring and responsive support is offered year-round, but securing uptime is of special importance during the festive period.
Meeting delivery expectations for everyone
While Santa seemingly has endless capacity on his sleigh, logistics businesses have no such luxury. Accommodating the year-on-year growth in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales relies on engraining scalability, efficiency and reliability into warehouse processes. Whether this involves a fleet of robots reducing the strain on staff or having a proactive monitoring partner for safeguarding key infrastructure – Prime Vision has the solutions to make sure warehouse operators and customers get what they asked for this Christmas.
(1) UK Black Friday Market Report 2023 – Mintel
(2) Black Friday Sales Numbers Hit Record Highs Despite Fears Of Recession – Forbes
(3) Black Friday in the United Kingdom (UK) – Statistics and Facts – Statista
Image 1: Black Friday and Cyber Monday place incredible pressure on logistics operations due to a huge spike in demand.
Image 2: Prime Vision robots provide a scalable solution that is ideal for moving items to different areas during the sorting process.
Image 3: Prime Vision robots provide a scalable solution that is ideal for moving items to different areas during the sorting process.
Image 4: Prime Vision’s Protection & Care service carries out 12,000 assurance checks on hardware and software operated by its customers every few minutes.
Editorial Contact: Brittany Kennan
Tel: +44 (0)1905 917477
Address: Progress House, Midland Road, Worcester, Worcestershire, WR5 1AQ, United Kingdom
Prime Vision: Ellen Brender à Brandis
Tel: +31 15 219 2090
Address: Olof Palmestraat 10, P.O. Box 6034, 2600 JA Delft, KVK 08068458