The 'Monday effect' is real, says study

  • Researchers find the 'Monday effect' that lets down returning to work after a weekend also affects supply chain

  • Longer times between ordering and shipping, and more errors in order fulfillment

The "Monday Effect" is real, said researchers after analyzing how it impacts Amazon package delivery to customers. The process interruptions during shutdown of operations over the weekend, coupled with human factors like the "Monday blues" will invariably hurt supply chain performance on Mondays.

Professor Oliver Yao, an expert on technology analytics in Lehigh University's College of Business said he's found that the "Monday Effect" which has already been documented to impact finance, productivity and psychology, also negatively affects supply chains in the current age of e-commerce deliveries.

In a research collaboration project with the University of Maryland and University of California, San Diego, Yao found that process interruptions due to weekend shut down hurt supply chain performance on Mondays. In other words, a longer time was recorded from the instance a purchase order is received and when it is shipped, besides creating scope for more errors in order fulfillment.

For the first time, this study looked at the impact of the "Monday Effect" on supply chains, said authors of the study that was published in the journal Information Systems Research.

Significant shipping delays

Yao and colleagues studied more than 800,000 records over a 12-month period from the US General Services Administration to look at variations in operations performance, especially order and fulfillment data from one of the largest supermarket chains in China.

They found the "Monday Effect" was significant as time between receipt of a purchase order and shipping is 9.68 percent longer on Mondays than other weekdays, on average. Yao, who holds the George N. Beckwith '32 Professorship, said Mondays are subject to both process- and human-related impacts.

Weekends create bottlenecks at distribution centers on Mondays as orders are processed, picked, staged and shipped to customers. Often, those involved in processing activities are impacted by adjusting to returning to work, more prone to errors and less efficient. But, most supply chain managers are unaware of this impact, said Yao and insisted that they should take steps to stem such "Monday Effect."

Combating the Monday Effect

To counter the Monday Effect, he suggested:

-- Increased staffing on Mondays, fewer Monday meetings and non-fulfillment activities, better training, additional pay or mood-lifters such as free coffee or motivational talks, and double-checking Monday work.

-- To reduce the Monday performance gap, better integration of technology solutions, such as automated order processing systems will make sense, said Yao, who found using electronic markets can improve Monday performance by as much as 90 percent.

He said technology reduces the Monday performance gap by 94 percent in order-to-shipping time, 71 percent in complete orders fulfilled, and 80 percent in the portion of shipments that have incorrect numbers of products.

"Computer-to-computer links avoid potential human effects resulting from the weekend break," as for computers, Mondays are just another day. But it remains to be seen whether it could result in more job cuts for humans in supply-chain processes.