I own a small business, I only cater to retail stores and with the holidays and a recent trade show I signed up some new clients, which is always good news, but with 2013 just around the corner I want to start the new year better prepared.
I want to establish some sort of system for my production, I have been around on the net and didn't really find anything remotely close to what I would like to have, so I am wondering what you guys do.
I currently carry about 20 different products, all available in white,milk and dark, creating over 60 different sku's, and I will have another 20 very soon. I would like some sort of software where I can enter my orders, inventory, etc right now I work with a bunch of papers, with no real order, it's messy and I sometimes end up with not enough of this and too much of that.
What do you guys use to keep things efficient in the production area ? to make sure you are fulfilling your orders on time and correctly ? any input would be appreciated.
I use excel to manage my orders but like you I always wonder wether there is something more efficient. What I do is I put all the orders together and add the number of every type of chocolate. for example let's say you have 5 places who asked for dark 70% chocolate, I make sure I make all the quantity at the same time to avoid changes and as a result saving time. I also make sure I produce a little extra knowing that this chocolate is ordered alot and future orders are coming the next day/week etc.. This also depends on the shelf life of your products. I usually start producing the chocolate that has the longer shelf life and move down the list.
Also comparing your sales is crucial. I look at last year's sale of each kind I produced. It gives me an idea how much I should expect to produce this month.
I use Quickbooks Online. I enter my orders as they come in, using the ship/delivery date as the invoice date, then before I start production I run a report of what products are scheduled to ship or be delivered that week. (I now have these reports set to auto-run each week and they are automatically e-mailed to me.) It's also just a great small business accounting tool due to the reports it offers (although I have an accountant friend who hates it!).
In addition, I post each individual order on the wall and arrange them by ship/delivery date, highlighting any important bits (i.e., add extra samples, etc.).
Most of the time this manages to keep us on track.