Staffing Push to Manage the Holiday Rush

As the retail and consumer goods industry gears up for the holiday shopping rush, the logistics and transportation industry must staff accordingly.

Recent research indicates that online shopping in the U.S. for the 2018 holiday season will increase between 17 and 22 percent. A rise in disposable income, stable personal savings rates, and elevated consumer confidence are fueling this growth.

These economic factors, combined with Americans’ increasing affinity for the convenience of online shopping, and nearly ubiquitous fast, free delivery, could lead to an estimated $128-134 billion in spending from Nov. 1, 2018 to Jan. 31, 2019. That’s up from around $110 billion during the same period last year.

In fact, Cyber Monday 2017 alone brought in nearly $6.6 billion in online sales, which is more than 30 percent higher than the total retail sales of Black Friday last year.

Logistics Workforce Shortage

As online sales continue to take a larger piece of the retail pie, they create a higher demand for warehouse workers, and put further strain on the logistics and transportation industry. A shrinking skilled workforce, resulting in a demand for higher wages, makes labor availability one of the most complicated elements in managing this e-commerce boom. 

According to the 2018 US Industrial Logistics Labor Report from CBRE, the growing volume of e-commerce sales will create a demand for more than 450,000 additional warehouse and distribution workers by the end of 2019.

Competition for qualified drivers is hot, making experienced candidates harder to retain. Drivers frequently “job hop” between competitors, as trucking companies continually lure new talent with higher wages, sign-on bonuses, and even free college tuition for dependents. Some drivers leave the trucking industry altogether, seeking better pay or more desirable benefits packages elsewhere.

When to Staff Up for the Holidays

While the retail holiday season generally starts Nov. 1, many consumers have already started shopping. Considering the necessary training period for new employees, now is the time to evaluate your holiday staffing requirements.

The best way to determine if your business will need to bring on additional warehouse or driving employees during the holidays is to consult your sales forecast. By reviewing fourth quarter sales from previous years, and comparing any growth trends you may be experiencing already in 2018, you should be able to develop a month-to-month prediction for sales for the remainder of the year.

Before deciding to bring on seasonal help, ask any existing part-time employees if they would be willing to work a full-time schedule through the holidays. Also, consider offering overtime hours to your full-time staff. As these employees are already trained and experienced, they are going to be your strongest assets during the holiday frenzy.

That being said, it’s wise to anticipate that your current team will want to take some time off over the holidays to travel and spend time with family. It’s also common to see a higher-than-normal number of sick days due to cold and flu season. For these reasons, over-staffing to some extent is a prudent plan.

How a Staffing Company Can Help

If you’ve determined a need for additional staff this holiday season, but haven’t started hiring yet, don’t panic. Engaging with a staffing company like Duke’s Drivers & Logistics can give you access to a large pool of vetted, qualified employees in a short period of time.

Before new hires enter your workplace, Duke’s Drivers & Logistics has taken care of their drug screenings, background checks, and has run driving record reports on delivery drivers and warehouse forklift operators.

Another benefit of working with Duke’s Drivers & Logistics is a quick turnaround. In many cases, our hiring process can be as short as one week. And the sooner you can get new staff on board for training, the better your chances of avoiding bottlenecks in fulfillment this holiday season.

While Duke’s Drivers & Logistics’ current clientele has us specializing along the West Coast, Midwest, Colorado and Texas, we can meet our clients’ staffing needs in any region of the U.S., and we anticipate having a national presence by 2020.

Given the shortage of quality candidates in the logistics and transportation industry, the holiday rush is a great opportunity to get a large volume of qualified workers on your team. Our temporary employees typically work a 40- to 60-hour work week, staying on as permanent, full-time employees after about five or six months.

Whether you need additional pickers and packers in the warehouse, or experienced delivery drivers, we can help you get the job done. While your immediate need may be staffing up for the holiday season, our goal at Duke’s Drivers & Logistics is to become your staffing partner for years to come.

To learn more about how we can meet your staffing needs, please visit or call 800-249-9145.