Peak season management

Adeline Kon/Supply Chain Dive

Note from the editor

"Peak has started," National Retail Federation Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jon Gold declared — in July.

It's an earlier start than usual to the holiday inventory rush. But given the ongoing congestion in global freight movement, shippers and supply chain leaders are doing everything in their power to stock up for peak this year.

Navigating peak season each year comes with unique challenges, particular against a backdrop of heavy consumer spending in online retail. Planning earlier, diversifying logistics providers and factoring in higher costs are all components of peak season management.

The trendline below explores trends and strategies around peak season. 

Shefali Kapadia Lead Editor

A congested freight environment shows no signs of improvement for peak

Shippers are moving freight earlier, while carriers are trying to plan ahead and add capacity if possible. Could the congestion last through Lunar New Year?

• Published July 22, 2021

Making sense of the peak 2020 parcel mess

With peak 2020 in the past, parcel shippers are attempting to discern what led to degraded carrier service for some, but not all.

• Published Jan. 25, 2021

4 ways to prepare procurement for the second pandemic peak

As shortages and COVID-19 infections persist, it's time to navigate the next phase of the pandemic. Let's call it the second peak.

• Published July 15, 2021

Gig economy emerges as key part of the parcel ecosystem

During the pandemic, Instacart, Postmates, Roadie, Shipt and others have moved into new roles, in many cases integrating into retailers' parcel portfolios as an alternative to traditional carriers.

• Published Jan. 25, 2021

Pandemic parcel dynamics drive a new shipper hierarchy

In a world where parcel carriers choose which volume they carry, some shippers will win capacity and some will lose. Skill and investment will determine the winners.

• Published Jan. 25, 2021

Peak season in a pandemic: What happens to freight rates and capacity?

Metrics and economic factors can help shippers gauge capacity and rates for air, ocean, trucking and rail heading into freight's busy season.

• Published Aug. 20, 2020

The omnichannel age is here — and it's expensive

Profit margins are often lower for pickup than delivering from a warehouse, as retailers consider store costs, shipping expenses and channel-specific overhead.

• Published April 6, 2021

Delays, surcharges and returns: Holiday shipping headaches have just begun

In a season expected to produce more than $190 billion from online sales alone, retailers are pulling out all the stops to keep up with demand.

• Published Nov. 9, 2020

A tumultuous year of ocean shipping prompts a rethink of contracts

Negotiations are taking place earlier than usual, with greater interest in two-way commitments and tiered pricing. But a focus on resiliency and capacity comes at a cost.

• Published March 10, 2021

FedEx readies for 'peak on top of peak' with 4 tech investments

The logistics company provided a look behind the curtain on Thursday during its Peak Innovation Showcase, highlighting sensors, data and automation that will help manage holiday parcel volumes.

• Published Oct. 30, 2020

Navigating supply chain peak season in 2021

This year's peak season is arriving earlier than the usual holiday inventory rush, and procurement leaders are already preparing. Navigating a post-pandemic surge in demand will come with unique challenges, particularly against a backdrop of heavy consumer spending in online retail.

included in this trendline
  • 4 ways to prepare procurement for the second pandemic peak
  • Delays, surcharges and returns: Holiday shipping headaches have just begun
  • FedEx readies for 'peak on top of peak' with 4 tech investments
Our Trendlines go deep on the biggest trends. These special reports, produced by our team of award-winning journalists, help business leaders understand how their industries are changing.
Davide Savenije Editor-in-Chief at Industry Dive.