I’m back in Nantwich for a few days going over our production plans for Christmas as you can imagine it’s our busiest time of year. The show sales are typically twice as high, and I’m hoping online will be double or even treble our average week through the rest of the year.
These three months of significantly higher sales produce a big chunk of our annual profits. However, from a manufacturing point of view, the increased demand causes us quite a few problems.
In previous years, when money was tight, we suffered in the run-up to Christmas. We didn’t have the funds available earlier in the year so we couldn’t manufacture the stock ahead of time and store it ready for the Christmas rush.
The result of this was to put enormous pressure on my team. We were always behind schedule, desperately trying to make enough stock each week to satisfy the rising sales.
We didn’t have enough staff or enough money to ease the process. It was stressful for my team who didn’t have enough hours in the day and for me as I needed the stock to sell at the shows we had booked.
Last year, we overcame some of this pressure by using agency staff, but it wasn’t a great success. The regular team didn’t like having them around. I believe they resented having to work alongside them, perhaps feeling the agency workers were paid too much and didn’t know how to do the job.
What a difference a year makes!
This year, as regular readers may know, we have had a fantastic year. One of the very positive outcomes of this change has been the different way we can approach Christmas.
We have been steadily building up our stockholding each week, instead of a mad rush to get everything made at the last minute. We are making a little bit extra every week and storing it ready for Christmas.
This change has led to a calm production unit, and hopefully, a happy production team, who are working consistently with regular hours throughout the year. No pressure, no frazzled tempers and no stress!
One problem it has caused us, though, is where to store all the extra stock!
We operate from a 2000 square feet unit, that’s about the size of a tennis court. Not enough space to store the pallets of extra stock and packaging that we need to be ready for Christmas this year.
Andy solved this happy problem by realising that we could use our delivery company as a storage depot. It costs just £2 per week per pallet, and we can have them deliver it back as we need it. Much easier than having to extend our unit. Though we may well have to do that next year if business continues as it has done this year.
All of this leads me to say a huge thank you. Without your continued support, none of this would be possible. Thank you for shopping with us and thank you for sharing the journey.
Together, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.