Feb. 9 2009 03:39 PM

The rush is over, the adrenaline levels are going back to normal; no more “get it out the door.” No more sleepless nights due to endless phone calls throughout the night, not to mention getting an evil eye from family and friends every time you answer your cell phone. If you are like me and most of the shipping industry, you have a busy season and the hustle and bustle can bring you and your company to the edge. This season can really show your fortitude. When you are in it, you do what it takes to get through it.
But what happens next? The next few months can be a critical time that should not be taken haphazardly. The harder you work now, the smoother the busy season will be next year. A lot of companies set their Q4 up so that it hits their busy season so they can go out with a financial bang. So at some point during this crazy time, your financial team probably asked you to set the budget for next year. This is a season when you barely have time to eat, never mind do a thorough budget plan.
Think About It
This is January and a great time to reflect back on last year. What are your accomplishments, what challenges did you overcome, and what were your biggest obstacles that you could have avoided? The colder weather and less sunlight seem to wipe last year’s slate clean and bring the possibility of a fresh, productive new year. How will you make this coming year vastly exceed the previous years? Will you work hard now, make educated forecasts and decisions early, or will you sit back and let busy season roll upon you before you realize it? Either way, you must act, as time is critical.
January to start this and tie up all the loose ends from Q4.
Each month for the next five months, I work on one major project to get us closer to being ready for the next busy season.
February is an evaluation and scorecard of where our system and my team are.
March is used for purchasing and enacting maintenance plans and updates.
April  focuses on training, to include team improvement, customer training and feedback.
May is used for setting major programming projects and timelines, while
June is used to implement projects internally and re-evaluate if resources and timelines are feasible.
Oscar Murray is the IT Manager for shipping applications at Ditan, Inc. He can be reached at oscar.murray@ditan.com.