Santa and his Arvato-elves

If Santa Claus could pick a service provider to support him in the area of logistics, he’d surely choose Arvato SCM Solutions. Arvato has practically unrivaled expertise in the timely delivery of goods to stores and consumers, and its employees are in top form during the holiday season as they help fulfill orders for beauty and fashion products, consumer electronics and toys.

As specialists in both the B2B and B2C areas, the people at work in the various business units know exactly what their customers, and the customers of those customers, expect at Christmas. Fast processes and short delivery times are essential for success in the demanding period leading up to the holidays. The efforts involved during this season are greater in other parts of the supply chain too, however, as a result of extra services like customer support queries. In the business unit Consumer Products, for example, the number of products that are dispatched as a result of purchases in web-shops is many times the normal daily volume. But there is also a marked increase in product-related inquiries and therefore in the time needed to respond to customers. In the unit Hightech & Entertainment, the holiday season is distinguished primarily by a large increase in the numbers of electronic games and technical accessories that are shipped. And it isn’t just online commerce that has to run smoothly — business volumes grow substantially at brick-and-mortar stores too in the months before Christmas.

Beside the typical consumer goods industries, there is naturally one sector that takes on special prominence at Christmas, a holiday so important to children: the toy industry. Arvato SCM Solutions performs the logistics for several major toy manufacturers. And these companies have their peak business in the lead-up to Christmas.

Innovative science kits, vanity cases for little fans of popular Disney series, and brightly colored stuffed animals whose big eyes capture young hearts — when the VVA Customer Service department opens its doors, you might think you’ve landed in a toyland for children and adults alike.

Dr. Karsten Jakuschona, Director Sales Toys at Arvato SCM Solutions

The hottest Christmas gifts of the season can be found on almost every shelf. But the team is not here to play — there’s hard work to be done. Anyone who buys one of these brands’ products — whether from the toy section of a department store or from an online retailer — can be certain that it was picked in Verl and dispatched from there. And in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the order volumes are traditionally very high. “The last three months of the year are the main distribution time in the toy industry,” says Dr. Karsten Jakuschona, Sales Director for Toys at Arvato SCM Solutions. “More than half of the total annual order volume is dispatched during this quarter alone. That means we are processing four times the usual number of orders during this season, on average.”

Flood of packages at year’s end

After the season, things are getting back to normal quite quickly, but until then, store shelves need to stay fully stocked over the coming weeks, to make sure every Christmas wish comes true. But that’s easier said than done. Karsten Jakuschona is concerned about the shipping providers, who are difficult to get right now: “When Christmas approaches, the transportation business starts booming. People are buying more and more gifts on the Internet each year. That has a huge impact on the availability of transportation resources.” This development poses huge challenges for Arvato SCM Solutions as a service provider and fulfillment partner — given that the aim is to keep appropriate supplies of goods on hand, and to maintain additional buffers in warehouse capacity and personnel, in order to compensate for an up to 150 percent increase in order volumes during this time. The growing online business, in particular, is bringing with it massive spikes that are getting more extreme with each passing year.