Friday, September 9, 2011

Bend is seasonal.

Always a bit of shock when the Fall season begins-- the foot-traffic drops off dramatically.

Makes it almost restful.

I'm always happy when the busy season starts, and yet not at all sad when it ends.

Got a bunch of paperwork done yesterday, and today I plan to do a sweep of the store with the broom, dusters and vacuum cleaner.

I try not to order very much in the first two weeks of September. So spot shortages tend to develop, but like I said, the compensating factor is that there are less people in the door to notice.

The book buyers who just want that one book are much more noticeable. They come and leave.

So far, since July, I've done a pretty good job of keeping my orders at appropriate levels. If I was doing a perfect job, I'd have plenty of stock of the best-sellers, and cash left over. Instead, my best-sellers inventory is filled just enough, with not much cash leftover, which means that the less efficient parts of the store are still dragging them down, which means I still need to refine my ordering process.

I mean, it's better -- probably better than it has ever been, but not quite self-sustaining yet.

In theory, I order everything correctly, and always have the right product in the right numbers and never miss sales, and everything is self-sustaining.

An impossible goal, I know.

The self-sustaining, efficiency goal has been my focus since July. Up until then I was still adding more inventory to my product lines, which a different process altogether. When I'm building, I purposely buy stuff that I don't know how well it will sell, stuff that I know won't sell fast but is cheap, and so on. Not efficient at all. But it builds the inventory, widens the choice of product, which usually gets rewarded enough to make it possible. And it's more data -- which of the new games and titles will sell?

I decided in July, however, that it was time to spend more time refining the process, and making those efficiency improvements.

The fall season will be much easier to manage in that sense, compared with summer and Christmas, which tend to be bigger, more chaotic and unpredictable.

This is probably one of those subjects that fascinate me, but bore the hell out of everyone else.

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