Work Ahead and Stay on Time
This is probably the most challenging task to accomplish. Every year we always say that we are going to build an inventory and then immediately ship products to customers around the holidays. While it's a worthwhile goal, with handmade products, especially if you offer custom work, it's somewhat impossible. Likewise, from one year to the next it's difficult to know what is going to be your "hot" item for the holidays.
Things you can do to keep your shipping promises::
- Instead of waiting for the rush to begin, get ahead while you can. If you have orders sitting in your queue right now, and despite their due dates, try your best to clear your queue, and keep it clear as much as possible. This may require some late nights working ahead or some sacrificed weekends, but it will be worth it four weeks from now when things really begin to pick up and your in the midst of spending time with family.
- Consider adjusting your processing time. Our first year we offered a 3-5 business day turnaround, and it didn't take too long to realize that this was too quick for us to manage. As long as customers know what to expect when they order, an extended processing time will not deter them from shopping. (We will discuss processing options in tomorrow's post.)
- Take a full supply inventory and purchase as much stock as possible. This will save your time and your money. (Boxes, gift wrap, business cards, labels, thank you cards, etc.) If you end up ordering too much you'll have the residual for your 2016 orders.
- Deep clean/organize your workspace to improve creation efficiency. This will not only improve your output rate, but it will be refreshing and motivating to keep your queue clear.
- Prep your order literature for quick packaging (thank you cards, notes, business cards). Basically prepare anything you include with your packages in advance.
- If you're able to clear your queue and have everything else accomplished above, we would suggest creating a small inventory of each best seller, or a large inventory if you have the storage space.
Tomorrow's Topic:: "Maximizing Processing Options"