$6,000 DC Signing Bonuses

Demand for warehouse workers is outpacing supply, leading to fierce competition for labor as we approach the busy holiday shipping season. To attract the workers they need, companies are beginning to offer increased salaries and signing bonuses. Shortly after Amazon announced a $1,000 signing bonus, B2B office products supplier Uline upped the ante by offering $23 per hour and a $6,000 signing bonus. 

Much of this surge in DC hiring and increased salaries is tied to the continuing ecommerce boom. The U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced that ecommerce shot up 44.5% in the second quarter of the year while retail sales decreased 3.6%. Ecommerce accounted for 16.1 percent of total retail sales, a dramatic jump from 11 percent for all of 2019.

As we discussed in an earlier blog, it takes 15 times more labor to pick and ship 25 pieces for individual ecommerce shoppers than it does to pick one case of 25 for a single store. Warehouse labor is becoming increasingly scarce as companies begin to hire thousands – both seasonal and full-time – for the holiday season. Here are some of the recent hiring announcements:

  1. Walmart reported they will hire more than 20,000 seasonal workers in ecommerce fulfillment.
  2. Target is hiring 130,000 seasonal workers, about the same as last year but more of those workers will be in DCs or dedicated to in-store picking.
  3. FedEx is hiring 70,000 workers (27% increase from last year)
  4. UPS hiring 100,000 seasonal workers (equal to last year)
  5.  1-800-Flowers.com is hiring 10,000 employees for delivery
  6. Michaels will bring on 16,000 seasonal workers.
  7. L Brands hiring 4,000 in their local DCs

Preparing Inventory For The Corona-Holidays, And Beyond

The corona-holiday season is quickly approaching, leading DCs, retailers, and manufacturers to change their stocking and inventory decisions.

Grocery DCs are stocking up on goods that ran in short supply in the early phases of the pandemic, while other retailers are planning for a more drawn out holiday shopping season. And makers of disinfecting supplies like Clorox are directing production to high-demand products like sanitizing wipes to be sure they can meet a potential surge over the winter months.

Traditional Black Friday door-buster sales have been cancelled due to safety concerns, and many stores are shutting their doors on Thanksgiving to help prepare for socially-distanced shopping. On the inventory front, Walmart has started building up their stocks of toys and electronics to prepare for an extended holiday shopping season. Consumer data shows holiday shopping will take place well before November this year. Most large retailers are offering Black Friday sales throughout the season in order to keep up with demand and fulfill orders on time.

This extended shopping season, and the increase in local fulfillment, will have have implications for DCs. Not only will they need to fill more direct-to-consumer orders, but they will also be challenged to keep stores stocked both for local shoppers and for local pick-up and delivery. DCs that can support multiple channels from one inventory will have a clear advantage. We recently spotlighted one Lucas customer that is meeting this challenge in a virtual DC Tour of Conair’s Glendale, Arizona DC. Watch a recording of the event here.

Vaccine Cold Chain Challenges

The first Covid-19 vaccines are in their final trial stages, which is setting up some unique supply chain challenges, both to store the vaccines at sub zero temperatures, and to get enough dry ice to keep them frozen in transit. The two leading vaccine contenders need to be stored at -80 and -20 degrees (celsius).

McKesson has been chosen as the centralized distributor in the U.S. for future Covid-19 vaccines. Meanwhile, the NY Times reports that FedEx and UPS are also gearing up to deal with the unprecedented logistics challenges. UPS is constructing a “freezer farm” in Louisville and FedEx is adding freezers at it’s hubs in Memphis, Indianapolis and Paris. The two companies are also looking at expanding their capacity to produce dry ice, which has been running in short supply this year.

38 News Sources For Distribution Logistics

Warehouse and distribution center operations and technology are changing rapidly, as companies adapt their supply chains to ecommerce and a range of other business, economic and social trends. With so much change, it’s a battle to keep up with the latest technological advancements – like autonomous mobile robots – let alone new distribution and business models like on-demand warehousing and store-based fulfillment

We’ve compiled a list of our favorite go-to sources for information and news about what his happening in the industry. In addition to our Work Smarter blog and monthly Warehouse and DC Newsletter, the list includes the top publications, blogs, newsletters, podcasts and video channels that will help you stay up to date on all things related to warehouse and distribution logistics. Click here to check it out→

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