Capacity struggles and how we're addressing them
Since earlier this year, we have seen a 40% increase in the volume of orders. While we're very pleased with how well the industry is recovering, this goes well beyond what we were expecting. Although we have been adding resources as quickly as we can, it does take time for those to translate into extra capacity.
We have trebled the number of lorry collections, taken on seven team members already and are in the process of adding a further six in logistics and four more in sales, operations and admin. Within this period, we are doubling the number of forklift trained operatives we have. We have added third party fulfilment this year on some lines, and are in the process of identifying further external space (we only moved into our current distribution centre last September).
But it takes time to recruit people, time to train them, and time for system improvements to become embedded. The outcome of all of this, is that in the very near term, we are experiencing more orders on a daily basis than the warehouse team can safely pick and pack, and occasionally more than will fit on available vehicles (and in the current climate, drivers and vehicles at short notice are hard to come by).
We really value every single order a customer places with us, so it pains us to take this step in making our order cut off earlier in the day to 1pm. We will reverse the change as soon as we possibly can, and certainly only intend to have it in place for a few weeks while we catch up with capacity.
It is worth noting, since we value giving a good service, that we have been seeing an increase in failures on deliveries, and reduced reliability on timed services. In normal times, our primary kit haulier, SW Group have proved to be far more reliable (and accountable) than other networks we have tried, and also willing to take lengths of rail. Like all road transport companies, they are significantly stretched by the general increase in freight everywhere across the economy, shortages of drivers, and the return of traffic to the roads. They are not alone in experiencing reduced reliability, but it does mean that timed services to site are a less safe option at this point in time than they were previously. Again, that is unlikely to continue indefinitely.
We're really sorry for the inconvenience of all of the above, and the whole team are working hard to still process as many orders as we possibly can, without compromising either the service to our customers, or the welfare of our team. We'd like to thank those who keep their business with us for their patience and loyalty.
All of the Midsummer team.