Funk & Weber Designs

Taking Care of Business

The Needlework Show ended yesterday, or early this morning, so today I’m filling orders. You might think that this would be one of my favorite parts of the job–sales, yay!–but I confess it’s not. Why not? Because I am terribly inefficient and it takes for-EH-ver!

It’s gotten better over the years, but I’m still not where I’d like to be with a shipping system. I have envelopes that I like and that keep the contents dry, and I have cardboard to keep the envelopes rigid, preventing the patterns from being bent and mangled in transit. Those are good things, and I didn’t always have them.

What I still don’t have is convenient, easy-access storage for inventory, and a flat-rate shipping fee. I create an invoice in my accounting program at the desk, then I pull stock from another room. The computer and inventory are not situated together. I usually traipse back and forth between the computer and the inventory room several times per order, unable to remember the details. I could write the order down on scrap paper, but that takes too much time and wastes scrap paper. I can’t print the invoice and work from it because that would be a waste of whole sheets of paper. Shipping costs have yet to be calculated and added to the invoice, so I’d have to reprint.

So…back and forth, back and forth– beach.jpglike waves on a beach! (Port Campbell, Australia)–to assemble the order. Then I have to weigh it–the patterns, the envelope, the cardboard, and a sheet of paper for the invoice. Then I have to look up shipping rates. There was a time I had the rate chart memorized, but it’s changed too often now, and I don’t trust my memory, so I look everything up.

Then I add the shipping to the invoice, print, assemble, address the envelope, and either print postage from the USPS Web site or add stamps.

It would be way-yonder more efficient and faster to have flat-rate shipping fees rather than charging “actual shipping rounded to the nearest $.50.” Imagine: I could print all the invoices, pull all the stock, and put them in envelopes in a single bound! For some reason, though, I can’t seem to bring myself to create flat shipping rates. Maybe it’s time to re-think that.

Am I whining? You betcha! Truth is, I’d rather fill orders than do a million other jobs, so too bad, so sad for me. I don’t feel sorry for me in the least!

Categories: Funk & Weber Designs

2 replies »

  1. Well, are you only spending $.50 or less in time per order? That’s the reason for the “handling” charge on most orders. Admittedly, some people get excessive over it, but given the setup you described, flat charges might not be a bad thing. The kits are probably heavier, but also cost more; could you set shipping charges based on a range of amount spent in each order. IE Up to $50 is $5 $50-$100 is $10, or whatever. Remember, faster shipping process means more stitching time. 🙂

  2. That’s a system that could work, Allura. The reason I raise the shipping to the nearest $.50 is easier accounting–I like zeros in the ones column! If a package costs $1.98 to mail, I charge $2.00. If it costs $1.64, I also charge $2.00. I think some vendors try to make money on shipping charges, but I want to avoid that.