Organizing Orders

There are endless reasons to stay organized through the holidays, but it always seems like an impossible task. While your business grows it's easier to figure out what works as you go, versus deciding how/what to do before hand. After several years I think we've finally figured out a process that is working.

We've tried phone apps, lists, calendars, etc. Each year, no matter what we do, we always end up having to battle the last minute, all-night, packaging marathon. (See photo below)

Our faces look happy, because we were finally finished, but honestly, it's not the ideal way we'd like to close out the last few days before Christmas. 

A few months ago, when we implemented our new Processing Time options (see yesterday's post) we began recording and organizing orders in a new way. 

  1. When an order comes in we print the order sheet. {This is a minimal ink and paper expense that provides us with a quick look at each order when needed versus filing through the order queue online. There is also space to record notes (i.e., address changes, order changes, special requests)}
  2. With each sheet we highlight any specific details about the order (variations, processing time, "ship by" date)
  3. The order sheets are sorted by week based on their scheduled "ship by" date. This helps us to avoid mistaking an expedited or rush order as a standard order. 
  4. Orders are paper clipped in clusters based on the week they are scheduled to ship.
  5. At the beginning of a new week we will have already printed shipping labels and written thank you notes for each order in the new week's stack. 
  6. Each order is paper clipped with the thank you packet and the shipping label
  7. We are ready to package!

With this process we are able to::

  • Double check every product against the order sheet
  • Avoid quantity and detail mistakes
  • Keep track of boxes and other packaging materials we will need for each week
  • Smoothly work through the packaging process

The other side of organizing orders, is organizing the details for production. We have shared some images of how we organize our production, but this will obviously be more specific to the type of product you make. 

Our order outlook calendar is a tool used to consider the labor required week-by-week. This calendar is updated frequently as Rush and Expedited orders come through.

This type of calendar would be great for any shop with "Made to Order" or customizable products. 

Our order detail sheet details the quantity of each frame size. This sheet is mainly used during mass production, bulk processing days (mainly framing). 

This type of sheet would be effective for a shop owner that makes pillows, bags, jewelry, etc. Any type of shop that sells products with several variations could use a sheet like this to keep track of quantity details, which supports bulk production. 

Happy Organizing!

On Monday:: "The Best Tags for Your Product Listings"

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