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Making Christmas in July Work for your Shop Floor

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The strategic decisions you make in the summer downtime help maximize profits when business picks up later in the year – here’s how to make Christmas in July work for you.

By Kristin McLane, President of CIMx Software

Have you noticed organizations advertising Christmas in July?  It’s hard to think snowmen and caroling in the summer heat, but my church is bringing the Holiday Spirit to the sweltering heat of summer with a Christmas in July campaign.

This Christmas in July push isn’t celebrating the shopping crush, holiday family stress, or the joys of eating too much and passing out on the couch.  It’s about giving to organizations that normally see donations only at the end of the year.  This is the time of year (summer) many non-profits see their resources dwindle and stores deplete.

Christmas in July recognizes a need out of context.  The world shines a light on giving to others and being thankful at the end of year.  Everyone feels generous and donates when community messaging is praising donations and pushing us to think generously.  But, donations in July, when many non-profits have spent their holiday bounty and the need is still great in the community, often have the greatest effect. 

There is a lesson we can learn from Christmas in July.  Cyclically, many businesses see a lull in the middle of the summer.  Many even close for a week in the heat of the summer.  Summer is a great time for retooling, reordering, even installing new machines. It may also be a down time for revenues. 

For manufacturing, the lower summer revenue is similar to the challenges facing non-profits.  Although many of us may not equate the two, businesses and manufacturers are seeing the stores depleting, their core capital wane.  Many businesses enter a new strategic planning cycle, and face budget reviews in the fall.  New project work may be slowing down in the late summer, driving revenue down as well.  A lesson for savvy businesses can be learned from this… there’s opportunity in the slow summer months.

A few months ago, I introduced the concept of cyclical investment in a business from International Trend Research Group (ITR).  ITR follows the mantra that you need to invest in the down cycle in order to maximize your capacity as business picks up.  It may be the only way to launch into a higher curve once business picks up. 

This is the key lesson I see in the push to introduce Christmas in July – restock the assets of service organizations so that, when the need is greatest, they can outperform.  Likewise, prepare your business with manufacturing investments, solutions and upgrades in the downtime, or summer slowdown, so you can meet increased demand when business picks up.  Don’t leave money on the table or let profit slip through your fingers because you wasted the opportunity offered by the July slowdown!

Act now – seize opportunity for investment in July to help make December a little sweeter.