Prepping for the Holidays: Scheduling Tips for Manufacturers

With Thanksgiving in our rear-view mirror and the collective shift toward the end of the year on the horizon, it’s time for businesses to finalize their plans and schedules around the December holiday season. This part of the year is especially important for manufacturing businesses that need to conduct business as usual, despite holiday interruptions. As we move closer toward the end of 2018, keep these tips in mind to experience a streamlined schedule during the busy holiday season.


Confirm schedules with third parties.

The end of the year is hectic for everyone involved, and can be especially so for suppliers and logistics companies. Order volumes can increase, affecting timelines and delivery windows. Take this time to confirm your orders can be delivered on time, and consider backup options with potentially more expensive companies who can meet demands and deadlines.


Anticipate higher volume of vacation requests.

Everyone enjoys time off from work, but those requests frequently pile up around the holidays. Be sure to set firm deadlines for requests for time off from your employees, and take extra time to confirm every department is appropriately staffed before approving any requests.


Use last year’s operations data as a roadmap.

Was there a particular bottleneck on the production floor last season? Do customers frequently request a particular product this time of year? Using historical data can help you anticipate production choke points before they happen and staff up to meet demand or prevent slowing in the manufacturing process.


Consider reducing operating hours if possible.

There reaches a point when it becomes financially unsound to remain open during slow holiday schedules. If your customers don’t plan to be open to accept deliveries and your suppliers don’t plan to be open to supply materials, it might not be feasible to remain open on a particular day. Consider closing for a full work day or reduce to limited operational hours in these instances.


The holidays are a great time to get ahead of common production issues and streamline processes while enjoying some much-deserved time off. Take these next few weeks to finalize your business plans so your company can enjoy a productive and successful holiday season. What are some holiday production tips you have for other business owners? Share them in the comments below.

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