It’s common for consumers to adjust their behaviors over time. It’s also normal to see quick shifts in buying preferences for particular brands or types of products. Boycotts can cause this, as well as bad weather. Food hoarding when a major winter storm is upon us is now expected in many East Coast cities. But rarely do we see the type of shift in consumer buying behavior that we’ve seen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unlike at other times, however, food hoarding was just one of the changes we’ve recently witnessed because of the pandemic. To be fair, some of the deviations in behavior have been directly correlated to governmental actions. In many states, restaurants, retail stores, health clubs, salons, and other types of businesses were forced to close. These closures had a dramatic impact on consumers. We were all forced to change our buying behaviors to some extent.
Nonetheless, regardless of the reasons people altered how they spend their money, every business operating in the supply chain felt an impact. Some companies could barely keep up with demand, like those in paper products or healthcare supplies. Other businesses, unfortunately, saw demand sharply decline or even come to a complete halt. Firms serving the travel industry fall into this category.
Warehouses, of course, have been directly impacted by these fluctuations in demand, since they are a critical link in the supply chain.
For the warehouses that serve businesses or industries that are struggling, it has been a very painful time. Many have had to lay off or furlough employees as their revenues have dropped. While the economy has started to recover, it’s still incredibly difficult to predict what is going to happen. Thus, these warehouses have had to be measured in how they proceed. That means holding off on activating furloughed employees or postponing hiring additional staff until they have more clarity.
While besieged warehouses have been faced with difficult obstacles, those benefitting from the pandemic have also had their challenges. They’re happy about the bump up in business, to be sure. But, keeping up with the demand has put an immense amount of pressure on them. They’ve had to expand operating hours, quickly hire and train staff, and regularly deal with frustrated carriers and drivers whose trucks have been waiting for hours.
But amidst all of these problems, warehouses using Opendock for their dock scheduling process have reported that it has been a lifesaver for them. No software system can eliminate all of the chaos associated with a massive surge in demand, but Opendock has allowed warehouses to remain efficient.
Opendock requires that every pick-up or delivery have a specific appointment time. This eliminates the need for trucks to start lining up hours, if not days, in advance. It also relieves some of the stress that warehouse managers feel in needing to constantly staff to peak capacity. Because of Opendock, warehouse managers know, as do all other key personnel, what trucks are arriving and when. This visibility allows operations to stay controlled and efficient.
The reopening of the economy has provided hope – and increased business – for many warehouses caught in the crosshairs of the pandemic. But we are far from being back to normal. As a matter of fact, debates about how to deal with a second wave are heating up. And the reclosing of businesses is an uncomfortable part of the discussion.
But if busy warehouses using Opendock experience a second wave spike in demand, they’ll be ready. Opendock can’t solve all of a warehouse’s problems, but it can ensure operations stay organized and efficient, regardless of demand.