Thursday, September 4, 2008

Planning Work Flow

Simple preparation is often all you need to turn a potentially negative situation into a positive one. Every year at this time, we receive last minute orders for personalized embroidered items. To avoid the rush this year, you need to put yourself in the forefront of your prospective customers' minds before they start planning for the gift-giving season.
Review your records and track the business flow from the previous year. Determine which times were the busiest, and plan on hiring extra help during those times. It is important to factor in the training period for new or temporary workers, as they can only begin being productive once they know what they are expected to do.
The best approach to a busy season is to take a proactive stance and control the workflow. One method of doing this is to offer you customers an incentive to order early. A discount for ordering early or an up-charge for last minute orders might be all they need to place their orders early. A catalog is another way to stimulate interest and get you customer thinking about their holiday needs. Another idea for generating orders early is to host a holiday home shopping party. Assemble samples of embroidered holiday related garments to peruse. Remember keep it simple Limit you inventory choices and choice of designs and colors. You want to spend their time ordering, not deciding what to buy.
Of course these are just some ideas for controlling your shop's productivity during a rush season. Throughout the year you will experience both slow and busy periods. If you identify these trends and take action to control them you can keep you shop running smoothly all year. We all think that being busy is a good thing, but if you can stretch that busy season into a slow one you can reduce stress in both slow and busy times.

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