Ramadan is about to come, this year the Ramadan starts from 13th April and ends on 12th May. That is why, international shipping companies that offer services in Islamic nations of the Middle East and Africa face considerable work pressure during this time. This period is going to be one of the busiest periods for logistics companies that ship to/from the countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Today we are going to discuss the reasons why the international shipping companies need to gear up beforehand to boost their operational efficiency and maximize their profits during the month of Ramadan.
Start your shipping early
Even though the sales start to shoot up only after the end of Ramadan, the logistics companies offering FCL and LCL services should commence their preparations well in advance. The reason being that many Muslim nations have less work hours, and reduced commercial activities during the month of Ramadan. Another reason why you need to start preparing early is because of the upward shopping trends during this season.
Shipping the cargo early will ensure that there is enough inventory in the market in the period when the sales heighten. It is also vital since a sizeable part of the workforce in the destination ports will be on leave during this period. Therefore, freight companies can expect a reduced capacity at the ports because of the shortage in the number of personnel. Consequently, delayed shipping will lead to exorbitant shipping charges because of greater demand for space.
Come up with an inventory storage plan
International logistics companies should chalk out an inventory storage plan for the seamless storage and distribution of their shipments. The shipments are known to move quickly in the month of Ramadan. Therefore, the freight companies should hire a warehouse that can handle storage and distribution. Moreover, reverse logistics should also be one of your top priorities. If the warehouse you are hiring is unable to give you the required space then consider hiring a 3rd party warehouse provider during the busiest months. Having an inventory plan handy will ensure that the product never runs out of stock. Logistics companies should be ready to encounter delays during this season. But you need to try and avoid a prolonged delay that might have fatal consequences in the competitive e-commerce scenario of the present day.
Avoid demurrage and delays at ports
Shipping early is also important to avoid delays and the payment of demurrage fees. If your shipment arrives at the port right within the month of Ramadan, then chances are high that you will have a long waiting time before getting your customs clearance done. As we discussed in the above point, the reason behind this is the increased volume of cargo plus the reduced number of workers during the festive season. If you find yourself in a situation like this then you might be risking an accumulation of demurrage charges. The demurrage charges can accrue at an alarming speed thus greatly augmenting your shipping expenses.
Evaluate your previous year’s performance
Assessing your performance in the past years during Ramadan can make your job a lot simpler. This way you will understand what needs to be done, what went wrong, and in which way your services can be improved. For example, you can check the performance of your fulfillment team so as to enhance their performance in the present time.
Be transparent about the estimated date of delivery
Although the season of Ramadan lasts for an entire month, the logistics companies have to especially agile in the week before the Eid-al-Fitr. This is the time when Ramadan ends and the family celebrations and gift exchange happens. During this time the international shipping companies need to be extra cautious about providing their clients with a transparent and near accurate date of delivery. Additionally, freight forwarders also need to provide their customers with constant updates regarding the status of their cargo. This is very crucial since if you can keep your customers happy during the peak season of Ramadan, then they are more likely to hire your services all around the year.
Consider recruiting seasonal employees
Many international freight companies hire temporary workers to cope with the extra workload during the holiday seasons like Christmas, Chinese New Year, New Year, or Ramadan. FedEx for example recruited 50,000 workers and UPS hired 95,000 additional drivers to facilitate the increased work pressure during the last holiday season. When the top freight companies are doing it, the small and mid-sized logistics companies also need to do the same on a smaller scale. Extra workers during the busiest time of the year will allow you to easily handle the workload and increase your productivity. It will also help you to lower the risks and keep your clients satisfied thus giving you much-needed peace of mind.
Ensure better communication between your key departments
Better communication between the key departments of your company will lead to greater productivity and the elimination of all possible gaps. This can be done by organizing frequent meetings with representatives from all the key departments where attendees can take note of the current situation and get an idea about the possible potentials and setbacks. Putting it simply, inputs from more team members will give you a near accurate view of the current scene thereby giving you the time to take necessary measures to maximize your efficiency. Miscommunication and lack of communication can ruin your operations this is why you need to take special care of keeping all the stakeholders informed.
Ramadan will start in less than a week. So companies that handle shipments to/from countries that celebrate Ramadan need to ship their cargo on time and eliminate any chances of delays. Moreover, the international shipping companies should also make preparations for boosting their sales and retaining their clients. To this end, proper planning, recruitment of seasonal staff, and providing transparency to your clients are going to be of great help. To maximize efficiency, try to ship your goods well before the month of Ramadan if the point of origin or destination is in a country that observes the month-long ritual of Ramadan.