Two gas stations on opposite
corners. Both sell at the same price. One does 100% more business over Labor
Day weekend. What's the difference? One was ready for "peak season" the other
was just ready for "business".
Every company has some period
of time when their business "peaks". There are simple steps to follow to
get your organization capable of maximizing peak seasonal operations. All that's
required is a commitment to think ahead, plan ahead and be prepared.
First, determine the slowest
period of the year. Usually this would be the lowest sales volume week. Compare
that to the highest volume week. The relationship ("ratio" for you math whizzes)
between these numbers is the "speed-up factor" needed. An example is the Hallmark
Card store with second week of July sales totaling $2,200. The week before Christmas
generated $15,450 in sales. In this case the speed-up factor is seven times.
(15,450 divided by 2,200 equals 7.0)
The correct way to view
this is to say, "During the week before Christmas we must operate seven times
faster just to stay up with the customer flow."
Once this factor is determined,
analyze each aspect of your daily operations multiplied by the speed-up factor.
Let's assume you operate the above example Hallmark Card store. Examine routine
functions such as sending someone to the bank each day to get change for the
cash register. If this takes 10 minutes for the Hallmark Card store in July,
it means committing 70 minutes for the same function the week before Christmas.
This is wasting the equivalent of 70 minutes in peak season. Your job is to
find ways to eliminate the need for daily trips to the bank. This includes changes
in operations during peak season. Perhaps during those heavy times you increase
the amount of change you keep on hand. Maybe you hire an armored car service.
Maybe you hire a trustworthy part time person just to take care of this one
chore. Find a way to eliminate spending the equivalent of 70 minutes during
your peak season doing a mundane task that can be delegated by a comparatively
Next look at how you can
prepare the operational areas. Ever notice a quality high volume restaurant?
As soon as a table is emptied, they immediately reset it, ready for action.
The materials (table cloth, silverware, etc.) needed are neatly stored nearby
in adequate quantities. Think through the supplies and materials you will need
for your peak increase in business. You can't afford to be chasing down office
supplies, forms or toilet paper during peak season. Order those well ahead of
time. If you do not have storage space, arrange with your vendors for scheduled
shipments of materials.
Look at your "action area".
For a ski resort this would be the equipment rental area. For a retail store
this would be the cash and wrap area. Where in your organization do customers
bottleneck and tend to wait for service? Now, examine what tools and equipment
you have to expedite customers at that point. How neat, clean and streamlined
is the area? How much "stuff" has accumulated around the area making it hard
to professionally handle increased volume? The solution: move away what isn't
used daily. Store them out of the way. As a rule of thumb, things that are needed
daily should be within arms reach. Things needed less frequently can be stored
in drawers or cabinets nearby. During peak times, having clean clear uncluttered
working space is critical.
Have your team prepared
for the increased pace. Meet with them well ahead of the season. Ask them to
list frustrations from the last peak season. What is their solution to those
frustrations? Insure your co-workers know you want to make peak seasons more
fun and less stressful for customers and staff. Their buy-in and support will
make the difference. Listen to their suggestions. Find ways to implement their
These are the details, which
will allow you, increased sales and lessen the tension on your organization
and customers. Plan ahead to exceed your sales goals with happier customers
and more importantly a less frazzled team. Implement your plan for your success